Making College Dreams Possible: Jennifer’s Story

In her own words, Jennifer, mom of CSF Scholar Maddy, explains how CSF provided resources and support that helped her daughter access higher education.

From the outside, everything looks great. People tell me all the time, “You’re killing it!” and “It’s so great to see you doing so well.” And the truth is, I am doing well—I’m happy, growing and contributing. What more could a person want in life?

But when it comes to making ends meet and providing for my children, it’s been a struggle. Single mom + three kids + started a business seven years ago = not a lot of resources to make it all happen. Add to that the amount of time I have to manage all of these demands, and it’s been tough to be as present as I want to be for my kids. They’ve had to learn to be self-sufficient contributors, and I’ve had to relent and learn to ask for help.

When my daughter Maddy was in 8th grade, she was encouraged to submit forms for the College Bound Scholarship program. Based on my income, she was eligible for help with funding for school. I was embarrassed and angry at myself and where I was in life that we qualified for the program, so I waited until the very last moment possible to fill out the paperwork.

I knew that I had to get past my own issues and do what was right for her. I hoped that my circumstances would change and I wouldn’t need this help by the time she graduated, but I couldn’t gamble on that kind of wish. So I sucked up my pride and got it done.

Maddy was accepted into the program, and her junior year at Lewis & Clark High School she was invited to attend meetings with College Success Foundation. Maura Ruiz was assigned to be her College Prep Advisor and quickly became an integral part of her life.

I fully trusted Maura and put my daughter in her hands. Maura traveled with her, met with her, cried with her, and was vulnerable with her. Knowing I didn’t have to be everything and that there was someone else to help Maddy was a huge stress relief for me.

I remember other parents telling me they hired consultants to help their kids with college and scholarship applications. At first I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t feeling the pressure some of these other parents were. When I’d start digging, Maddy would tell me that Maura had given her all the direction she needed, and I just had to provide some documents and signatures.

When I watched friends taking their kids all over the state and country for college tours, I feared how I was going to find the time and money to make this happen. Maddy came home one day and asked permission to go with CSF to see several college campuses. I cried because I couldn’t provide the same opportunity, but I was grateful this was covered and knew she’d have a great time.

As soon as Maddy set foot on Whitworth University’s campus, she knew it was the place for her. I never would have thought to bring her to Whitworth. If College Success Foundation hadn’t invited her, she never would have visited nor applied.

Maddy was immediately accepted during the fall of her senior year. Because of her grades and our designation, she received a Presidential Scholarship which cut the cost of tuition in half. I couldn’t believe it.

But what really made attending this university possible was the funding Maddy secured through her affiliation with College Success Foundation. More scholarship money came in, and all of a sudden, Whitworth was a viable and exciting reality.

Maddy has thrived in her first year at Whitworth. She has found her new home, she’s been well-taught, she’s declared a major in English at the prompting of professors, and she even has a mentor helping her to pursue her dream to be an editor. Her work study placements have allowed her to become a leader on campus as she talks to potential students and gives campus tours. She even took a job this year as the “Why Whitworth” event coordinator. She can’t imagine being anywhere else, and neither can I.

I can tell you with all honesty that getting her to this place took a lot of acceptance and letting go. It was also nearly effortless for me because of the support of CSF. And now it’s my chance to give back, share our story and help.

I encourage you to learn more about the work CSF is doing in our community and across the state. They make first-choice, dream college opportunities possible for those who may not otherwise have the chance. I can’t thank this organization enough.