“Making aDream a Reality”
A story about Heidi and her dreamto attend college
Last summer,right before Heidi’s senior year of high school, her mother was let go from herhousekeeping position after working for the same company for over ten years. Withoutenough money to pay the rent, Heidi, her mother Rachel, and her youngerbrother, Alan were evicted from their home in Silver Spring. Originally fromSierra Leone and experiencing their first time without a home, they had limitedresources in the United States, so they turned to the county for help. InSeptember, we welcomed their family into the Stepping Stones community.
Althoughforced to begin her senior year living in a homeless shelter, Heidi alwaysremained optimistic and hard-working, impressing and inspiring many with whomshe came in contact. During her time here, she dutifully worked with ourvolunteer tutors twice a week, secured a job at Forever 21, cared for herbrother with autism, attended workshops with the parents at the shelter, participatedin her school’s musical, and succeeded academically.
Lisa Millerfrom the Jamon Education Foundation, who hosts workshops for our parents, hadthe pleasure of getting to know Heidi in those sessions. She says, “Icould clearly see a special spark in [Heidi] that would allow her to perseverebeyond her circumstances. She is a strong woman with a wonderful attitude aboutlife.” One of our tutoring volunteers, Elizabeth Symonds, who was able to workwith Heidi, including helping with her college essays, states, “During our tutoring sessions sheshowed remarkable focus, whether she was preparing an oral presentation onMalcolm X or wrestling with college application essay questions. Herengaging personality makes it a pleasure to work with her. With her collegeacceptance now in hand, [Heidi] is poised to take a major step towards a brightand exciting future.”
At SteppingStones, we’ve made efforts to empower Heidi to fulfill this goal by helping herfile FAFSA information for financial aid, covering transportation andaccommodation costs for college visits, and helping with college andscholarship applications. Although Heidi and her family moved out a few monthsago, we’re continuing to help her make her dream a reality. In the fall, Heidiplans to attend University of Maryland—Eastern Shore to study Social Work, aprofession she feels inspired to pursue. Lisa Miller comments, “Iam so impressed of her dream to grow up and help this world. When I askedher what she wanted to major in at college, she said she wants to be a SocialWorker... ‘I just want to help people.’”
Now, we ask you to consider helping Heidi follow her dreams toattend college where her personality, drive and dreams will be nurtured and sheis able to prepare for a lifetime of positively impacting and inspiring thosearound her—something that she’s already done within the Stepping Stones family.