“If she had life insurance, I could’ve just been a child.”
College student Brentney Reynolds knows firsthand how difficult it can be to continue on financially without life insurance. She experienced the loss of both parents by the age of 17 – neither of whom had life insurance coverage. “My whole life has kind of been really financially unstable. It’s held me back from a lot of things,” says Brentney.
Her mother passed away from a brain aneurysm when Brentney was four, and her father died of a heart attack on February 23, 2020. She’s had no time to grieve properly and has had to manage family decisions that no teenager should. Brentney now works two part-time jobs alongside her studies to afford college since any money that would have gone to a college fund went instead toward necessities like groceries and bills.
Fortunately, her dreams of obtaining a degree in Clinical Psychology won’t be put on hold, thanks in part to a Life Lessons Scholarship. This program was established in 2005 by Life Happens to help students facing financial hardship due to the death of a parent with little or no life insurance. Since its inception, more than 750 scholarships totaling $2.8+ million have been awarded to students at more than 375 schools.
Watch Brentney find out she is this year’s Life Lessons Grand Prize Recipient:
“I’ve shed a few tears on some of these calls over the years.”
The Life Lessons Scholarship Program is a daily reminder of our mission for Andrea Englert, Life Happens’ Manager of Consumer and Industry Programs.
“I read and watch every single application that is submitted. Yes, even when there are over 1,500 applications in a single cycle, I go through each of them individually,” says Andrea.
Each application is judged by five different industry volunteers in the first round of reviews. That means in a typical year, with 1,500 applications, there are about 7,500 total reviews completed. It takes a lot of volunteers to make that possible!
And telling students they’ve received a scholarship never gets old. “I’ve found there are two likely responses – immediate tears or uncontrollable laughter. For the recipients, hearing that they’ve been selected and that paying for school will be just a little easier can be overwhelming. And for some, that comes out as laughter!” says Andrea.
“But for others, you can hear the tears welling up when they realize what the scholarship will mean for them. It’s quite an emotional experience for them, and honestly, for me. I’ve shed a few tears on some of these calls over the years.
“I remember a particular student could not believe he was selected as a recipient. After I told him the good news, there was a lot of stunned silence, followed by, ‘Wait, is this a joke?’ His incredulous response made me chuckle, which did not help convince him this wasn’t a prank! Thankfully after I reassured him (multiple times) that I was not joking, he was overwhelmed with what this scholarship would mean for his education.”
We hope that by sharing our students’ stories this #GivingTuesday, we can inspire others to take action with life insurance and protect their families. You can donate to the Life Lessons Scholarship Program here. 100% of your donation goes to a student in need.
Additionally, if you know a student who would be interested in applying, please send them the link to the program. We will start accepting applications for next year’s scholarships on February 1, 2022.