John Hancock Recipient

Mya Stinson

AMOUNT: $10,000
SCHOOL: Villanova University

On August 17th, 2005, I lost a part of my soul, childhood, and father. At the age of 2, I lost my father to gun violence. Being so young during that time, I can hardly remember his voice, his personality, and most importantly any memories that we had shared together.  For so long, I have carried this traumatic heartbreak through my adolescence, now into my adulthood. It causes me so much pain to know that I will never get to share my life experiences with him and most importantly what a father’s love feels like. All from a bullet, the foundation of my life has been ruptured.

My dad played an important role in my family’s life. He was the main breadwinner that provided for my mother, grandmother, four older siblings, and I. Money was already tight, we were on welfare and living in the worst areas of Philadelphia. I could imagine that my father was more concerned about providing for his family than his unforeseen future. Having a deceased parent and the effect of his death has affected and overwhelmed my life in numerous ways. My father didn’t have life insurance, and this had a detrimental impact on my family. My mother was left with a tremendous amount of debt from my father, and because of this, it forced her to work two jobs. There were times when I wouldn’t see my mother for a few days because of the need for her to work overtime. Secondly, my dad didn’t receive that much of an income, so stretching survivor benefits was tough. Also, my dad was a veteran, but it was impossible for us to claim his benefits after his death due to government’s regulations. Financially my family was at risk, as a result a college fund was not in place.

As a child, I never realized how hard times were. Looking back, I am certain that things would be different if my father had life insurance. My family would be financially comfortable and sustainable, and I wouldn’t have to pick the cheapest option for school. My father’s dreams were to break the generational curses of living in poverty and for his children to attend and graduate college. I am very proud that I am fulfilling his aspirations. Throughout my whole educational career, I’ve made graduating college a priority. I am currently obtaining an academic scholarship that partly pays for my tuition.  I am currently a first-generation college student at Villanova University, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. With my BSN degree, I plan to become an ICU nurse. This career choice is influenced by my father’s circumstances, with this in mind I am strongly devoted to trying to save the lives of those who are in life-threatening situations. Furthermore, I aspire to continue my education and become a DNP with a specialty in anesthesiology. All in all, I know that I am making my dad proud, and he is spiritually guiding me through this thing called life.

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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