MIB Recipient

Jenna Bradley

AMOUNT: $5,000
SCHOOL: Buffalo State College
Growing up I never thought about money, I was usually able to do or buy whatever I wanted. That all changed when I was 13 and my Dad died. He was the main earner in our home. When my Dad passed away from pancreatic cancer he was 50, the only life insurance he had was a $30,000.00 policy from his employer. That amount was less then he made in a year. The household income was cut by two thirds.

My mom had always been good with money (or as my dad said “cheap”), and told me not to worry we would be ok. Being young and grieving for my dad I did not know of the struggles my mom went through to keep my life “normal”. But slowly as I grew things I began to notice changes. At first there was no money for “extras” I had to drop out of extracurricular activities because the monthly cost was no longer doable. When I turned 16 I began to realize how much my mom sacrificed for me. She hasn’t bought herself anything new since before my dad died. She doesn’t eat till after I finish, always having some “stuff to do” first. Being a typical, selfish teen it never occurred to me that she “volunteered” at a food bank so she could bring food home. When she pays the bills she always says she’s “robbing Peter to pay Paul”, with a little towards saving for a “goal”.

When I was 17 I sought employment and have been working at Old Navy ever since. This allowed me to lift some of the burden from my mother’s shoulders, I pay for my own car, clothes, gas, and college text books with my earnings. My choice of colleges has shifted, a private school is no longer a financial possibility. Plans were adjusted and a state school was the wisest option because the contributions to my education IRA ended when my dad’s illness forced him to stop working . Then in my senior year of high school my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I wanted to take a gap year and stay home, but my mother insisted I was going to college, so we compromised and I enrolled at the local two year community college, Suffolk Community. This way I could still be close to help my mother. My mother is now a cancer survivor and insists it is “my time to fly” I am enrolling at SUNY Buffalo State for the 2018-2019 school year.

What would my life be if my dad had life insurance? Easier. People always think “There is time to get a life insurance policy, I am young.” But that is not true. Life happens. I believe that if you’re single and don’t have insurance, fine, but if you’re married, or have kids it is just irresponsible. There are people who rely on you. When you pass away, these people are grieving and not only have to deal with the loss of a loved one but also the loss of financial stability. Your children’s lives will be changed forever by your death. When your parent dies you not only lose them you lose the feeling of security. Getting life insurance give back some sense of security.

The Life Lessons Scholarship is made possible through individual donations and corporate sponsorships. Your financial support can make a world of difference for a young person struggling to afford a college education due to the loss of a parent or guardian.

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