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SCHOLARSHIP PARTNER

HER STORY

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2022 GRADUATE
DENYSHIA CARRINGTON

AGE:

18 years old

DESIRE:

Bring change to the foster care system.

GRADUATING GPA:

3.67

ATTENDING COLLEGE:

Santa Monica College, Fall 2022

HER STORY:

Growing up in the foster care system, I have had so many heartbreaking moments.  I have questioned who I am, where I am going, and if I will accomplish anything of significance.  These questions weighed heavy on me as I faced one of the biggest challenges to staying motivated and managing my mental health during COVID.  Months before the pandemic hit, I had completed my medical treatment and was consumed with school, a welcomed distraction to life.  When the pandemic forced schools to close, my mental health challenges resurfaced, and I began to deteriorate, and I could not perform everyday living activities.  Simple things like eating, sleeping, and getting out of bed became hard, and I became overwhelmed by thoughts of suicide.  These behavior patterns consumed me, and I could not attend my junior year of high school.  I am so grateful for Exposher and the people who supported me throughout that time because they made it better.  They did not give up on me when I had given up on myself, and once I realized that, I found the strength to get up and do better for myself.  I wanted to show them that their time and investment had not been wasted on me.  As a result, I started attending school again my Senior year and went to a continuation school to make up for my missing credits. 

 

Today, I am most proud of finishing high school on time and getting my mental health back under control.  Ever since I was a little girl, I have dreamt of college.  Being accepted into Santa Monica College is a blessing, and although it is not the college I dreamed of, I am very excited to be continuing this journey in college.  After receiving my Associate's Degree from Santa Monica, I plan to attend UCLA and major in Computer Science.  I know it will be a long road ahead. Still, with a sound support system and scholarship assistance from Exposher, I will be able to reduce the financial impact to afford my tuition and fees, books and supplies, transportation, and housing.   Receiving a scholarship would be life-changing as I navigate the challenge of saving money to move closer to the school to reduce the burden of commuting.  This money would help me find housing and mentally focus on my studies without so many financial worries. 

2022 GRADUATE
MALASIA HUTCHINS

AGE:

17 years old

DESIRE:

Become an Ultrasound Technician

GRADUATING GPA:

3.42

ATTENDING COLLEGE:

Undecided

HER STORY:

I am happy, bold, and doing my best to be strong at my core.  As I learn new things about life, I need to focus on myself because building a better relationship with my mother is important.  Growing up in an unstable home, I dream of becoming successful with the ability to take care of myself financially.  Earning my high school diploma is my biggest accomplishment and the proudest moment because many people doubted me and told me I would not be able to do it.  Making this far has inspired me to go to college to gain a better sense of who I am becoming and have the experience of knowing I was able to accomplish this goal. 

 

Winning a scholarship would help with the stress my parents have trying to pay for and support my goal of becoming an Ultrasound Technician.  It would mean that I am one step closer to something that will change my life and contribute to my success.

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2022 GRADUATE
HAZEL KNYPSTRA

AGE:

17 years old

DESIRE:

GRADUATING GPA:

3.67

ATTENDING COLLEGE:

Xavier University

HER STORY:

Life has not been easy for me. Facing many hardships in a single-parent household, we constantly lacked resources and often moved from house to house and state to state. In my life, I have attended five different high schools and have been displaced, homeless, and lived in shelters. Mentally it has taken a lot of focus to make the honor roll several times, remain out of trouble, and be a proud big sister. Graduating high school is currently my most significant accomplishment, but going to college and finishing is a goal I want to achieve since my parents never finished college. I dream of being happy in my career and financially stable so that if I do have kids, they won't feel the worry and stress I have in my childhood. 

 

My three-year plan is to attend college, begin interning in my career field, and have my car and apartment. Receiving scholarship money would mean less worry and stress for my mother and me to pay for college. Thinking about the expenses puts stress on my shoulders, and having financial support would allow me to be in a better space mentally.

2022 GRADUATE
NYLA JOHNSON TILLMAN

AGE:

18 years old

DESIRE:

To make a positive impact in the lives of children through art and therapy.

GRADUATING GPA:

2.35

ATTENDING COLLEGE:

Undecided

HER STORY:

I grew up in a house full of tension between my parent's bickering and fighting as a child.  I constantly worried about their relationship, and eventually, they divorced, leaving my mom resentful toward my dad and taking her anger out on me with whoopings.  I spent a lot of time feeling alone and abandoned by my parents as I went back and forth between two homes.  As they continued their lives, I was stressed,  left unprotected, and experienced molestation.  Recently, these childhood traumas have resurfaced in horrific experiences where I was okay being in an abusive relationship to feel loved; as a result, I was sexually assaulted and jumped by a girlfriend during the school year over that boy.  I was dealing with depression, I had an identity crisis, and my father verbally and physically beat me and kicked me out of the home in the middle of the night to further the pain I was experiencing.  

 

I didn't see my life as a graduate or beyond my dreams, but I'm thankful to Exposher; I receive counseling and currently go to therapy.  I am in my healing process learning to accept my parental support isn't stable, but with the help of a friend who encourages me, whose family lets me live with them, and who has my back, I am to see beyond my circumstances.  I'm currently stressed facing homelessness due to the severed relationship with my father and my mother moving to Texas.  Still, I hope that by staying in Los Angeles, I can find focus and push forward with my plans to attend college. 

 

I dream about successfully selling my art, traveling the world and seeing new things, going on late-night drives, and finding new music.  I enjoy cosmetology and would love to get an internship at a hair salon and learn how to do hair.  I would use this skill to help me pay for college.  I plan to pursue a major in Psychology to become an art or music therapist and open a community center for children needing emotional support and life opportunities.  Although I've gone through so much, I still have dreams, and having a scholarship helps relieve the stress I feel about entering trade school and finding housing. 

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An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

- Benjamin Franklin

PREVIOUS WINNERS

SHILA DOUGLAS

2021 Scholarship Winner
 

Current College: 

California State University

 East Bay

CRYSTAL GOMEZ

2021 Scholarship Winner


Current College: 

University of California

Irvine