Tuesday, August 28, 2007

From the Ashes

As you know, I work in Fundraising for a University. This school offers a wide variety of scholarships, and as part of our stewardship program for scholarship donors, we send them information about the students who benefit from their generosity.

Today, I'm typing up some brief biographies of this year's scholarship students from some pieces they wrote for a leadership orientation program. And I started to cry as I read this one (paraphrased and sanitized for a public audience):

I grew up in (southern state), and my family was doing well on the outside, me and my brother and my mother and father. When I was four years old, I remember seeing my father abusing my mother. He was charged with domestic violence twice, but nothing happened to him. The final time he assaulted her, she had to go to the hospital. I didn't know it then, but when he assaulted her, he aggravated a tumor in her throat; they gave her a tracheotomy, but had to send her to another hospital for better treatment; she had a stroke and died a week later. That was the last time I saw her, I was seven.

I can't even imagine the horror of living in this kind of place. To have your childhood turn into a reel of domestic violence, and have your last memory of your mother being taken away to the hospital because of what your father had done to her.

I will meet this student sometime in the next few weeks. I'm almost sorry to have this assignment, because I really don't want to hear about these things, I'd rather meet this person as they are, a successful college freshman who is about to start a new chapter in life.

On the bright side, this student overcame the obstacles of a broken home and moved away from an abusive past and won this scholarship. I'm glad to know that the human spirit is so resilient. I'm also glad to know that my job helps to create more opportunities for other students who face such obstacles. My dream is to create a school to liberate women from ignorance and teach them to make their own way in the world. My work here is just the first stop on the way.

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