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Scholarship Recipient's Story --
At the 2011 Trailblazer Awards Luncheon

A scholarship recipient from Hudson Valley Community College received a standing ovation at the 2011 Trailblazer Awards Luncheon after this inspiring speech about her difficult journey to better life for herself and her daughter.

I was blessed to have been awarded the Women of the Capital Region Scholarship for 2011 and I am here to thank you personally. Being awarded this scholarship helped me in many ways. Being a single mom, the financial relief was so very helpful but more importantly, you were taking a chance in me and letting me know that my story was important. That I was important. Important enough to extend your hand to me in a way that no one had done before. Your generosity told me I mattered and that I could succeed because there were people that believed in me.

Today, I brought with me my daughter. She is the very reason I had decided to return to school. I wanted to give her more than my small world had to offer. She inspired me to want more out of the life I was living. You see, I was on a path that was headed nowhere. I had little care for myself or anyone else for that matter. I lived day by day, always wondering when it would all fall apart. I knew nothing of the hope and determination that I have today. I have been transformed to a survivor of my circumstances, no longer do I feel that I am the victim. No longer do I allow the challenges I face define who I am. I have become responsible. Responsible to myself, responsible to my daughter and responsible to the many women I hope to help in the future. I believe I can only keep the gifts I’ve been given by passing them on.

For the last year, I have been bringing a 12 step meeting to the Albany County Correctional Facility for Women. It is there that I share my story with other women in the hopes that they will hear something that will inspire them to change the path that they are on. I let them know that there is a world of possibility available to them if they’d only try. That if I could succeed, then so can they. But most importantly, I let them know that there is someone who believes in them. I am passing on the message that I received from you.

Now, I am in my last year at Hudson Valley Community College. In the summer I will be completing my degree in Invasive Cardiovascular Technology. I will be able to work in any hospital in any city, in any state when I am done. No longer will I fear about how I will be able to raise and support my daughter in these tough economic times, I will have a career. A career no one can take away from me. It is a gift, a gift that I have had to work hard for,, but a precious gift nonetheless, and I have all you ladies to thank for that. Your foundation is funding the women of tomorrow, it made it possible to afford the cost associated with schooling and allowed me to focus on what was important, my education.

I am so grateful for this opportunity to address you all and let you know what your scholarship has meant to me. Your foundation, along with Hudson Valley Community College has allowed me to soar to levels I never dreamed possible. I am proud to say I am a student at Hudson Valley Community College. It is a great school, nationally recognized as one of the best community colleges in the nation. It has done a great job at preparing me for the workforce I will soon be entering. Your investment there was a wise one, but I am not alone in my desire to succeed. Every day I encounter woman just like me, working hard to better themselves through education. So please, I implore you to keep investing in the women of tomorrow. There are many women out there who are deserving of this opportunity and would thrive if given the chance that you have given to me. Your scholarship changes lives, it has changed my life and for that I thank you all.