Live Your Dream Awards Stories: Heather

November 15th. Heather remembers the exact day six years ago when she packed up everything she could fit into the car and left her abusive marriage. That first night, she and her children slept in a hotel, uncertain what would come next. A kind aunt extended an offer to help Heather back on her feet, and she and the kids stayed there for 4.5 months until they found a way forward.

“It was while working with a domestic violence agency that I decided to go to college so that I can provide for my family and show them that no matter what they are faced with in life, they can persevere and still pursue their dreams.”

Last year Heather applied and was accepted to an occupational therapy assistant program. She’s an incredibly hardworking student and is on track to graduate in May 2020, but she’s had to make sacrifices.

“Because I am in school full-time and a Mom to 4, having a full-time job working the hours that I need can be a challenge. … Even though my job has helped us financially, it is so hard to focus on my kids, school, and taking care of their needs because I know I need to work as well in order to put food on the table and pay for our expenses. I often have to sacrifice time with my kids in order to work and study.”

Now, thanks to support from the Live Your Dream Awards, Heather can breathe a little easier for a while knowing she has help to cover tuition and her family’s living expenses.

“I plan to graduate from the occupational therapy assistant program in May of 2020. For the first year I would like to focus on the rehab facility for patients that have suffered an accident or illness that need OT to adjust to being back on their own. I would also like to work part time with pediatric patients who have ongoing developmental delays and other conditions.”

Heather was selected by volunteer judges to receive a $1,000 first level and $5,000 second level Live Your Dream Awards.

About the Live Your Dream Awards

The Live Your Dream Awards provide over $2 million in education grants to about 1,500 women each year. Since 1972, the program has helped thousands of women achieve empowerment through education.

More than half of our awards recipients identify as survivors of domestic or sexual violence. Over 97% of those survivors report now living in a safe environment.

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