Jessica’s journey through adversity is a testament to the power of determination. A single mom and survivor, she has traveled a long way from her days in domestic violence shelters.
Today, Jessica is living her dream career as a nutritionist. Most importantly, she is a positive role model to her teenage son and has shown him that all things are possible with grit and gratitude!
Jessica had been through some dire straits when she applied for a Soroptimist Live Your Dream Award education grant in 2013. After leaving an abusive partner, she and her infant son were living out of domestic violence shelters. Though safe from her abuser, she wasn’t in the clear yet. Jessica needed to find stable housing and figure out how to survive financially while raising her son as a single mother.
She knew that education was the key to rebuilding her life, and college offered flexible hours and on-campus childcare, making it a practical choice. When she filled out her award application, Jessica described her dream to study nutrition and her desire to create a better life for herself and her son.
It was a life-changing moment when Jessica got the call from SI/Westminster, CA, informing her she was receiving a Live Your Dream Award.
“I felt honored. Blessed. Lucky. And I felt seen,” she says.
The award bridged the gap between student loans and public assistance, ensuring her journey was financially sustainable. It also allowed her to buy her son clothes, toys, and food.
Jessica has achieved great success in the ten years since receiving her award. She earned her Bachelor’s in Dietetics and Food Administration in 2017, followed by a Master’s in Nutritional Sciences in 2019. Achieving her Registered Dietitian certification in the same year opened doors to new opportunities. Today, she is one of two supervisors of her school district’s Nutrition Services Department. She’s set her sights on becoming assistant director and possibly the department director, further solidifying her position as a leader in her community.
The impact of her Live Your Dream Award extended far beyond Jessica’s education and career. In 2022, she achieved another milestone by purchasing a condo solely based on her credit and income, a symbol of her financial independence and strength.
As she reflects on her story and looks to the future, Jessica feels proud. Her journey is a testament to her resilience, determination, and the support she received from Soroptimists who believed in her.
To the caring members who make the Live Your Dream Awards possible and to the generous donors who are helping expand this program to reach more women, Jessica has a heartfelt message:
“Thank you all so much for supporting and believing in me. You lifted me up during the scariest time of my life. You helped to make me who I am today. Words truly cannot express all that your support meant to me!”
Help us ensure more women like Jessica get the support they need to flourish! Your gift of $5, $10, or $50 today goes to investing in the education dreams of women and girls who need extra support to reach their full potential!
Learn more about Soroptimist’s Live Your Dream Awards program and whether you or someone you know may be eligible to apply.