Empowering Youth Through Education

Unique T.

UniqueSometimes I feel like I am in this world alone, trying to make a better life for my siblings and my mom. When I get up in the morning for school, my mom is off to work, and when I get home she's asleep. When my mom sleeps, I do all of her jobs. I clean and help my sister with her algebra homework.

This and more is what falls on my shoulders on an almost daily basis. My mother, with six kids, is the head of the household and I am the oldest, having the most responsibility. Even though most of the time my mom is not around, I still respect her. But I have had to grow up fast to help my mother make the best of what we have as a family. I wish my mom would just find a stable man, who would stick around and do more than just give her kids. It's already difficult living in this dangerous neighborhood, and to see my mom suffer is even worse. I try my best to help my mom with my siblings in every way that I can. It's hard to see her heart constantly broken, and us struggling on a day to day basis. I have five siblings and we were conceived by three different men. My dad has been in jail since I was two and my 12 year old sister's dad left my mom, and when my four younger siblings' dad is around, he tends to be drunk and hits our mom in front of us.

In my family I am like the glue. I hold everything together. With all the issues my family faces, my mother never found the energy to help me invest in a higher education, but I found that through the Fulfillment Fund. Trips to colleges, college advice from miraculous college counselors like John Mitchell and Sherry Banks, financial aid workshops, and Destination College are all examples of how this program changed the direction of my aspirations. I never understood the college application process, until the Fulfillment Fund showed me the way.

Taking care of my siblings has inspired me to want to start my path in the medical field. Caring for others is my passion, and a college education will bring me one step closer to that dream. I am the doctor, and my siblings are my own personal patients. They look to me for life-changing advice. As a young African American woman and the first in my family to go to college, I want to graduate from a four-year university, and ultimately change the pattern and course of my family story.

I never would have been able to see this change as a possibility without the advice and insight given to me by the Fulfillment Fund. Before the Fulfillment Fund, I was lost. Now I'm on my way to success!

Unique, a film and digital media major, attends UC Santa Cruz.