Thanks to the volunteer judges who helped us score applications in December, we’ve finally finished selecting our next batch of Live Your Dream Awards recipients. These 40 remarkable women will each receive a money award to help them attain their education goals and create a better life for themselves and their families.
Jermira was selected during the second round of judging to receive an additional. She’s agreed to let us share her extraordinary story.
(first level $1,000 and second level $3,000 recipient)
Jermira was working hard towards her associate degree when she unexpectedly learned she was pregnant. For many women, pregnancy means having to put education on hold—but Jermira was determined not to slow down. She gave birth to her baby girl and went on to complete her Associate in Information Technology, which she hoped would help her toward her dream of working in computer science.
Then, things took a turn for the worse. Her daughter’s father became physically abusive. The final straw was when he pulled a gun on Jermira with their 4-year-old daughter watching. She had to get out.
Jermira survived and is now a single mom working full-time, studying full-time, and trying to make ends meet. But the bills continue to pile up relentlessly, making it hard on Jermira and her young daughter.
“There have been nights where I’ve cried myself to sleep because I did not know how I was going to get my bills paid,” she says. “I have tried everything from high interest loans to borrowing from my 401k, just to keep a roof over our heads. My daughter has seen me stressing and offered to break her piggy bank to help pay for bills; no 7-year-old should even have to consider that.”
Jermira tried to secure a better-paying job, but discovered that she still needed a bachelor’s degree to advance to the next level of her career.
Then, in September 2016, Jermira was searching for grants online and came upon the Live Your Dream Awards. She applied and was selected to receive a first level $1,000 award plus a second level $3000 award!
The Live Your Dream Awards means increased financial stability for Jermira and her daughter, and an opportunity to continue the next step in her education and career. Jermira’s dream is to complete her BS in Information Systems Security and one day work for the FBI or at the Pentagon.
“More importantly” Jermira says, “it will give me the opportunity to provide a better life for my daughter.”
(Jermira’s daughter is also relieved she can keep her piggy bank!)
On behalf of Jermira and the hundreds of women like her who received awards this spring, thank you to all the volunteers who help make this program possible! These women are now a few steps closer to their dreams, and that’s pretty spectacular.