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Scholarship Recipient Spotlight: Melisa

Each year, Chance to Advance awards scholarships ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 for youth enrolled in the program to offset the cost of college education or secondary school expenses.  With about 70% of youth in foster care at risk of dropping out of high school, Chance to Advance focuses on the importance of education and offers the scholarship to encourage students to remain in school and further their studies. Scholarship awardees are selected based on their academic record and commitment to maintaining a minimum GPA of 2.5. Melisa, a Chance to Advance scholarship recipient from 2016, recently shared the impact the scholarship has had on her academic progress and her future career goals.

“Throughout my life I have faced adversity head on, but the escape from my chaotic life was education. Losing my mother and being brought into the foster care system at a young age was the most terrifying period of my childhood. I was torn from my brother and sister’s arms and felt lonely and yet the only thing that stuck beside me was my education. I always knew that what I did in the classroom would reflect on myself and my future.

School work was and still is my number one priority. Furthering my education is what will help myself and others in the future. The Chance to Advance scholarship has aided me with my education goals. With this scholarship, I was able to help others through my volunteer work as well as attain a 4.0 GPA. I always strive for the best in myself because I know that I can achieve anything I believe in and set my mind to. This scholarship has allowed me to attend Suffolk County Community College full time, as well as having the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people.

I made a ton of new friends who are from across the Island, as well as such brilliant professors who have so much to offer. This scholarship has motivated and aided me to use my education for a career I would love to be involved in. Over the course of this past semester, I have tutored some students from the William Floyd High School in different areas of mathematics. Some areas I tutor in are pre-calculus, algebra, trigonometry, and statistics. I love helping others, which is why I tutor while furthering my education to become a physical therapist. One day, I will graduate with my doctorate degree and own my own practice for physical therapy.

What ultimately motivates me to do well in the classroom and what has also made me choose physical therapy as a profession is because of my mother. My mother became paralyzed and blind, yet fully recovered just before passing away. Watching the physical therapists help her was so heart warming. This job opportunity to help someone gain mobility back in their joints was something I fell in love with. Helping someone with a goal they set for themselves is what I am used to from tutoring, so I can therefore use these skills later on in my work life. This scholarship has ultimately helped me with my education, and I am so grateful for the people who are helping me change my life, just as I will change someone else’s life with the aid of this scholarship.”

To learn more about Chance to Advance, click here.

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 Alena Jones is the Director of Development & Marketing for EAC Network. She graduated from Rice University with a B.A. in English.

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