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August 20, 2013


August 20, 2013

I am a single-mom-by-choice who didn't complete my education and have suffered the consequences of not doing so. I have spent my career thus far helping people. I am a credentialed Substance Abuse Counselor in the State I reside in, and have spent the majority of my career working with and helping people who society often avoids dealing with for many reasons, most of which I believe are classist, racist, and sexist in nature. My favorite population are adolescents-and I am in the minority for them being a popular demographic. I've worked primarily in the inner-city, with kids of color, from all different cultures (I speak Spanish fluently as well as some French), and while I have gained an incredible amount of professional and personal satisfaction doing so, the money isn't very good. I have gone back to school several times, but need advanced degrees which I don't have in order to make a better living. My daughter, who is bi-racial, has been raised most unconventionally, but with a true sense of empathy, fairness, and justice...seeing the corruption of these in systems we are both a part of is frightening and at the same time has made her stronger, providing perserverance and a drive to excel. I have been bothering the guidance counselor at her school for years about scholarships, knowing I would not have money to pay for college, yet feeling I owe my daughter the chance to go to school. Despite some real issues and setbacks, she is overall an A student who has attended 5 college classes while in High School, and who is one of the smartest, talented, and engaging young ladies I know--and it's not just because she's my kid even though I am biased. I bothered and bothered the counselor who, because of this, went out of his way not to help my daughter (she and I found an SAT Prep Class she won a scholarship to, and she and I found whatever information we could on our own-we were never told about some standardized tests that are required, my daughter, despite my asking the guidance counselor and administration of her school to please nominate her, was deliberately not nominated for another program I'd heard of, but that's OK) until this Spring, 2 weeks before the deadline, he forwarded an e-mail from QuestBridge that said "Last chance for College Juniors to apply for Questbridge's Prep Scholarships". In 10 days my daughter completed the application and a month later found out she had won not one, but all three awards she had applied for and qualified for! We are now in the process of the College Match Scholarship Program application which is arduous, but I never believed anything like QB was possible--in my heart I know my daughter has a good chance to be accepted into a Top Tier or Ivy League College, all expenses paid, because she has earned it and deserves it. I keep telling her she can do it--when she's crying about her essays and lack of support from school I tell her she can do it; when she is overcome by insecurity and self-doubt I tell her she can do it. I know she can, and I know QuestBridge is the only way this could happen for her. Please, if you have a high achieving child and you don't make a lot of money, got to Questbridge's website. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. It is a lot of work, but it is worth it. I wish I was in a position to work for QB myself and help kids find their way into a situation like this. Regardless, we will both be giving back what has been offered to my daughter...neither of us will break our promises to help when we can. I am incredibly grateful and humbled by the generosity of spirit that made this whole organization exist. Thank you! We'll see what happens this Fall!!!!

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

try and make sure as many public schools are reached in person--hopefully speaking directly to the kids, because the guidance counseling staff are often unreliable; I would be thrilled to help. We got lucky- and right before the deadline. I wonder how many other kids like my daughter weren't told about QuestBridge here in New York City because of poor dissemination of information or a plain lack of care....

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