American Family Recipient

Xavier Winfield

AMOUNT: $5,000
SCHOOL: Ivy Tech Indianapolis Campus

The morning of July 26, 2014, started simple. My Mom was on her way to Cincinnati for a concert and my father and I had plans to spend the day together. After breakfast I headed back to my room to watch tv for a while. All of a sudden, I heard a loud boom in the living room. When I came out of my room to see what it was, I came to find my father on the floor. I was unable to help him up, so he told me to calm down and call 911 for assistance. After the police informed me that they were on their way, my Dad told me to call my Mom and tell her what was going on. While on the phone with my Mom, my Dad stated that he could not feel the right side of his body. My Mom stated that she would now be turning around and coming back to town. When we arrived at the hospital, we learned that he had suffered a massive stroke and they had put him in a medically induced coma. I was picked up from the hospital and when I returned home the next day my Mom took me to her room and explained to me that my father was not able to pull through. He had passed away that morning. My world shattered when I heard the news.

I was 11 years old when my Dad died. He and my Mom had been married for 14 years and thought they had sufficiently planned for this situation, but the life insurance was just enough to pay for funeral expenses and sustain us for a few years. It definitely was not enough to put me through college. Mom had to quit a job that she loved to make more money to support us. At the age of 11, there was not much I could do monetarily to help my Mom, but we helped each other in a different way. We became the center of the Indiana Black Expo Matters of the Heart smoking cessation campaign, see my Dad was a smoker, which contributed to his death. We were given a platform to tell our story which was both therapeutic to us and gave our tragedy purpose.

When I was old enough, I got a job and took on the responsibilities of my upkeep. I wanted to take that burden off of my Mom as much as I could. I now buy food, pay for my haircuts, purchase my clothing, as well as pay a household bill. Although school after my Dad’s death was really tough for me, I have made it through.

I will graduate this June, and I have already received acceptance from five colleges. My Mom and Dad have always insisted that I would go to college, but now that my Dad is gone paying for college is something my Mom just isn’t able to do on her own. This scholarship will help me fulfill my Dad’s wishes and help my Mom tremendously. Thank you for your consideration!

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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