Hi, my name is Vanessa Cooper, and I would like to share a little bit about myself and my story with you about my obstacles and how I overcame them. Growing up, I really didn’t see a future for myself as I came from a home where both my parents were drug addicts and high school dropouts. But I have to thank my grandmother as she took my brothers and I in, she also made sure we had food on the table and clothes on our backs. At the time that my grandmother had took me and my brothers in, she had also taken in a few of my cousins, as our parents were not there for us as they should have been. I will never forget living in my grandmothers three-bedroom apartment with my three aunts, three cousins, of course my grandmother and grandfather, then my three brothers and myself, it was twelve of us in that small 3-bedroom apartment. I mean the place was packed, then about a month after that my grandmother ended up taking in another one of my cousins making thirteen of us, and we all slept on the floor in my aunts’ room, which my aunts were annoyed by because they didn’t have their own privacy. I mean things were hectic in the apartment, as there was really no privacy at all for anyone. Then in 2001 tragedy struck, I was fifteen at the time when I had lost my father, who I loved dearly despite of his addiction, he was killed at work on the job at the age of thirty-two, he was a tree logger and a tree fell on him broke his legs and crushed his skull, and I didn’t know how to grieve, I soon found myself starting down a dark path, about a year after my father passed, I dropped out of high school, and ended up in an abusive relationship which for years made me feel like I was unworthy of anything good, I had no education and I couldn’t find a decent job, I was bouncing from one dead end job to the next. I was in a terrible place, I had lack of knowledge, education and no passion for the jobs I was being offered. It wasn’t until one day; I sat down and ask myself: Vanessa: what are you doing? Where are you going? I knew then I had to do something with myself, so after ten years of being in that abusive relationship, I got help and managed to make it out. After that, I knew I needed to find myself again, I knew I had to do something, I didn’t understand the value of having a degree and how receiving a college education could determine how my future would be, but after living in our society without an education, I now understand the importance of earning a college degree. One year after getting out of that relationship, I studied hard and got my general educational diploma at the age of twenty-seven, and I was very proud of myself for that accomplishment as it was my first step in the right direction. These days I feel better than ever about myself and I have been doing everything I could to keep one foot in front of the other. Today I am able to pursue my dream of becoming a nurse, and I am the first in my immediate family to attend college, although back then college was never a thought for my future. Through all my trials and tribulations during that ten-year relationship, I still made it out, while all along not knowing what I was made of, or what I was capable of, I mean, I’ve been through the storm and manage to make it out on the other side. I have traveled a long way to get where I am today and I will not let anything stop me now, I am now finally making it back to pursuing higher education. Today I am a certified nursing assistant working with patients with all kinds of conditions and it has been a pleasure to do so. After a lifetime of struggling, I am now a full-time student working a full-time job. While I do have a lot on my plate, I have still managed to maintain my education despite the obstacles that were thrown my way. This scholarship would help relieve the stress of managing my bill’s while still working and attending school full time and would also be life-changing and will help me continue to pursue my dream at a brighter future. This scholarship would also be put to good use and would be given to someone that appreciates the struggles of life and earning a higher education.