“I was a first-generation college student, and I wanted to change the way my lifestyle was growing up. I grew up in a low-income family where we struggled to make ends meet. I decided in high school that I wanted to attend college and pursue a career in healthcare. I wanted a career that made a difference, as well as, a career that would provide an income to live comfortably. Additionally, I had many bad experiences in the dental world as a young child, and I knew I could relate to the children I care for today. 

My parents had me when they were 15 years old. My dad dropped out of high school in 9th grade and completed his GED later in life. My mother was able to complete high school. Due to the circumstances, neither one was able to complete college. I find my story unique because I was able to grow and learn from my childhood and overcome adversity. I refused to be defined by stereotypes and promised myself I would create a life for myself that I was proud of and worked hard for.

Without VSAC and The Curtis Fund, I would not have made it to where I am today. Without The Curtis Fund, I don’t think I would have been able to afford my schooling. The Curtis Fund accounted for a significant portion of my tuition. My family was not able to contribute much towards my college experience. They struggled paying bills altogether, and adding another expense was out of the question. By receiving The Curtis Fund, I was able to work hard for a degree without the stress of figuring out how to pay for it.

I am now living the way I imagined, without living paycheck to paycheck, because of The Curtis Fund. I really believe I would not have been able to go to college without it—it was life changing. Now, I am able to pay it forward.”