Date of publication: 2017-08-27 00:52
A college education is already a major financial challenge for most American families, but it becomes infinitely more difficult for a student when a parent dies, leaving little or no life insurance.
Individual contributions are accepted from those wishing to support this important initiative. Your financial support can make a world of difference for a person struggling to afford a college education due to the loss of a parent or guardian. Donations to the Life Lessons Fund are tax-deductible.
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During the selection process, a subjective component plays a key part in each decision, says Ahrian Dudley, the foundation’s executive director, chief legal counsel and a longtime friend of Smith. “Is this a good kid who survived beyond what you would expect and thrived helping others? Does he have that extra spark that means he’s going to make it?”
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In short, the book discusses several instances in which typical American history classes do not tell the whole story. For example, the author addresses the way that American history classes do not usually address about the Vietnam War, even though it happened only a short time ago. This made me realize that we hadn't discussed the Vietnam War in my own history class! The book taught me that, like my story of the Indian reservation, there are always more stories beyond what we see on the surface and what we’re taught in school. I was inspired to continue to tell these stories and to make that my career.
As these students navigate their way through college, they shoulder more than just maintaining their grades, good behavior and community service. Often they face resentment and misunderstanding from the families and communities they’ve left behind. Many times they lack the basic necessities most college students take for granted — clothing, dorm room furniture and supplies, even adequate housing when they go home for the holidays.
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The loss of a parent or guardian is one of life’s most difficult ordeals. The emotional strain can be devastating to children and adults. And for too many families, an untimely death also brings financial stress, making recovery all the more difficult.
Dudley says many students have been in survival mode for so long, they have built a shell around themselves. “They don’t know how to handle someone who cares and loves them and is not expecting a paycheck from them.”
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