Pacific Life Recipient

Heather Perry

AMOUNT: $15,000
SCHOOL: Southern New Hampshire University

Just when I thought things were starting to get better, my life took a turn for the worst. My mom and I had just moved from Colorado to Alabama to start fresh. We had a nice apartment, I was looking at colleges, and we had each other. I thought it was as good as it gets until one morning I woke up and found my mom had taken her own life. On the night of July 26th, 2020 I said “I love you” to my mom not knowing it would be the last. In the blink of an eye, my life completely changed. I was completely alone in a new state. I was my mom’s only child, my parents were divorced, and all my family lived back in Colorado. My dad flew down to Alabama to help me get back to Colorado and once back in my home state he told me I couldn’t live with him. The only person I thought would help me get through this hard time had now told me I had to figure it out on my own since I’m an adult.

My mother was never one to save money and it was obvious during this time. She only had a couple hundred in her savings account and she didn’t have life insurance. Since I was her next of kin, I had to handle all of the financials. I lost my car and my phone because they were both under her name. I started working part-time at a doggie daycare and a Crocs outlet near me. They didn’t give me a lot of hours, but they were jobs. I lived with my brother until he got drunk and kicked me out. Then my friend’s mom let me stay with them for as long as I needed. I was grateful for the offer, but I felt like a burden. During this time I got in contact with my birth mom, Sarah. (I was adopted when I was born.) She became my family. She offered me a permanent place to stay.

I moved to a different state to live with someone who showed me love and kindness when I needed it most. I didn’t think going to college was ever going to be an option again. I had too many other financial obligations to worry about at this time. Sarah encouraged me to go back to college and get a degree in something I love. She helped me find schools, financial aid, and scholarships like this one so I didn’t go into more debt or pay for school out of my own pockets. Now I’m focused on getting my degree in Computer Science, something I loved in high school. I hope to one day program prosthetic limbs for those wounded in battle. I want to help them succeed in life and everything they do. This has not been an easy journey. I miss my mom every day. If she’s looking down on me, I hope she’s proud.

The Life Lessons Scholarship is made possible through individual donations and corporate sponsorships. Your financial support can make a world of difference for a young person struggling to afford a college education due to the loss of a parent or guardian.

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