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American Family Recipient

Joshua Burns

Scholarship Amount: $10,000

Hometown: Verona, WI - School: University of Wisconsin, La Cross

Nothing is more worthwhile than the ability to understand. Once you understand you adapt, overcoming harsh moments in life and break barriers nobody believed you could. In the 18 years I’ve lived on this planet, constant change and doubt has ruled me, shot me down. However, I have come to understand that I have goals and ambitions and plan to serve a true purpose in this world. At the age of twelve my father went to jail. At the age of fourteen I lost my mother to a brain aneurysm, by far the greatest feat I had to overcome. My mother was always there for me, even when she wasn’t there. I was forced to move away from my mother three times due to a lack of income. My father was there, but like most children with broken homes, only during the weekend. My mother kept me motivated even in the harshest times. I’ve enrolled in over 15 schools, moved back and forth from Wisconsin to Colorado, overcoming all odds of adversity and homelessness. I spent a total of 8 months inside of a homeless shelter. My mother, my sister and I lived in a tiny room at the very top of the building, high enough to see all the other homeless people living in what was called “the triangle.” My mother noticed my sorrow however, I had to find within me the strength to push through. Shortly, a year later I was offered to move back to Wisconsin with my older sister, because even though we had enough to not be homeless, we barely had enough for anything else. Sadly, a year after I moved back to Wisconsin, my mother died in her bed. It was concluded that the stress and lack of food eventually got to her. I was devastated, almost emotionless. With the loss of my mother, it showed me that life should not be taken advantage of, but to be taken as a gift. That is why I’m grateful for my opportunity to get away from that and to pursue my dream of going to college. I believe I have an amazing future ahead of me and college is my next step to success. My plan is to attend a university to obtain a 4-year degree in business management and a sub major in fitness and wellness. I want to share this experience and feelings with others in the fitness world and help them lead healthy lives and find ways to work through their emotions like I did. In Colorado, I had no hope. I’ve been provided a second shot at life, and I’ll never forget how I got here. My future is what I make of it, therefore I’ll make it the best life I can. I will make a difference, to show that anyone can prevail. Thank you for hearing my story.

You can help students like Joshua make their dream of a college education come true by donating to the nonprofit Life Lessons Scholarship fund. Donate here.

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