college

#BeBetter Hero of the Month

Because, it’s Mom’s day…

Stephan and Sharonda Wilson attending graduation (Photo Courtesy of Yahoo News)

Stephan and Sharonda Wilson attending graduation (Photo Courtesy of Yahoo News)

Sharonda Wilson, a mother of four, earned a bachelor's of science in business administration from Ferris State, was set to graduate on May 4th from the Flint, Michigan, campus of Ferris State University. But because of a conflicting schedule with her son, Stephan, set to also graduate that same day, Shardonda decided it was more important to be there for her son.

When she made a post to social media though lamenting having to miss her own graduation, a classmate of Stephan’s, who works in the president's office, made mention to Central Michigan President Bob Davies about the dilemma just a few hours before the ceremonies were to begin.

Acting quickly with the news, Davies called the president of Ferris State University and was able to get permission for his school to confer Sharonda Wilson's degree, according to Ari Harris, assistant director of communications at Central Michigan University.

"I can't imagine anything else that would top what happened to us a week before Mother's Day." Stephan Wilson

Having not told either Sharonda or Stephan of the plan, President Davies shocked both when he called Sharonda down to the stage were she was given an honorary red CMU graduation cap to wear for the special occasion.

“Please move your tassel from your right to your left,” Davies said to Sharonda Wilson in a video of the event in which the crowd of families and friends of other students can be heard roaring to life.

Stephan who earned a bachelor's of fine arts in music theater from Central Michigan said of his mom, “I wouldn't have been [at graduation] without her. That is the honest truth. He continued to talk about how her drive to earn her own college education impacted him, "She has definitely been my biggest support, biggest cheerleader and to see her be recognized along with myself was priceless," he said.

However serendipitous it all is, with Mother’s day just around the corner, I think we can all agree that there is nothing like the love of a mother for her child that motivates us to achieve things we never thought we could. For myself, undoubtedly my own mother is someone who would literally move heaven and earth if that’s what I needed and I can’t imagine being the person I am today without her influence and example.

So if this story is hitting you right in the feelz like it does to me, do yourself and your mom a favor and pick up the phone right now to tell her how much she means to you. And don’t just let that message be delivered once a year out of the guilt of seeing a Mother’s Day sale happening at some store.

One thing I know my mom always enjoys is when I shoot that “thinking of you” text first thing in the morning to let her know she’s on my mind and in my heart. Sometimes it’s those light-hearted acts of love that really make someone feel important.

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Always remember that someone — or several someones — made a difference in your life that empowered you to be here today.
— CMU President Bob Davies

First Semester In The Books!

Our first college-scholarship recipient, MaKayla, has wrapped up her first college semester at SLU and is absolutely killing! Not only did she successfully finish the semester with a 3.52 GPA, but she did so while also balancing work and 10+ hours of community service.

Not surprisingly, she chose to give her time to a local St. Louis organization, Almost Home, that has a mission to "empower young moms to become self-sufficient and create a better future for themselves and their children."

As part of her scholarship requirements, she also completed a well-thought out, articulate essay reflecting on what this first semester meant to her. Below is one of my favorite quotes from this essay and something that I find so motivating each time I read it. 

MaKayla reflecting on her first semester in college

MaKayla reflecting on her first semester in college

When I first read her essay and saw the official transcript of her first semester, I couldn't help but feel so damn proud of her and what she is setting out to accomplish. So many young adults across America, who are also first-generation college students, can struggle with the rigors of higher education for myriad reasons.

That's why it's so important that we as an organization take responsibility for how our students perform in school and don't simply hand out tuition funds based on prior achievements. We try to make ourselves available 24/7 to the scholarship winners so that when they inevitably encounter the challenges that make the question if they're capable of actually succeeding, we are one of the first ones to adamantly say how much we believe in them!

As supporters of I Do It For Her, you too should feel this sense of responsibility and pride. Your donations have made this life-changing event possible and your continued support allows us to have an unbelievable impact on the lives of low-income students who otherwise may not have this chance.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

- Adam

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KIPP St. Louis: Our new approach to helping others

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For the past 5 years, our mission has been to help those in desperate need of a quality education receive that opportunity through partial scholarships. The impact we've had on both the selected students and their families has been incredibly gratifying, humbling, and powerful!

Recently, our partner organization, KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) Stl, has made a BIG change and will be opening a brand new KIPP high school this Fall. By doing so, they will add another positive layer to serving St. Louis youths and their families who don't have the financial ability to get the life-changing education they deserve.

Because of this improvement, we are going to shift our focus towards helping high school students coming out of the KIPP organization prepare for the financial burden of college. Given the recent statistics that amount to over $1.4 TRILLION in crippling student loan debt, students who live below the poverty have yet another obstacle to overcome..

We are accepting of the challenges ahead and are dedicated to continue our promise that every dollar you donate goes DIRECTLY to helping those in need. Your support is changing lives and we can't thank you enough!