From Desk of Cat Gankofskie, Non-Profit Liaison & Scholarship/Grant Manager
As the Scholarship Manager for CCF, I have the pleasure of playing a small role in the continuing education of some incredible people. Although I don’t have the opportunity to meet them in person, I do have the great pleasure of making a phone call that could be the change-maker that person has been waiting for. This was the case with Victoria. Through a broken voice caused by tears, she thanked and thanked us and said she “could not believe this was happening.” Victoria applied for the *Jean Simmons Single Parent Scholarship a few weeks ago and was awarded $5,000 to Middle Georgia State University to start her next journey. With her permission, I am sharing her scholarship submission story in hopes that other single parents will know that it is never too late to start a new chapter and a better future for themselves and their children.
Victoria’s Story: Supporting a new journey.
As a survivor of domestic violence, I am living proof that you can have an abundant life after divorce, homelessness, and unemployment. After experiencing extremely difficult challenges, I have learned that my attitude has the power to shape, build, or change my future. Negative events may transpire that could wreak havoc with the best-made plans. However, I choose to embrace my strengths with the determination to succeed no matter what obstacles I encounter. Some people view divorce as the death of a marriage; it can be in many ways. I have accepted it as a new beginning. This new life has given me an opportunity to focus on personal development and challenge myself to live a life of more abundance. I have learned to draw grace from my God and intestinal fortitude from the presence of my three children, who are witnessing my transformation to beauty from ashes.
I should receive this scholarship because in me lies the solution to someone else’s problem. In me, others have found support, comfort, integrity, and encouragement when they felt at their lowest. I am the person who takes clothing off my own back to cover someone else in need. I seek out job opportunities for others amid seeking opportunities for myself. I care about people because I know all lives matter. While we all might just be a number to COVID-19, I recognize the importance of people and that our children are essential to future generations to come.
My children have inspired me on more than one occasion, but other people’s children have motivated me as well. Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, many children in the City of Atlanta have experienced hunger, stress, anxiety, depression, and domestic violence while receiving a virtual education for 9+ months. I have read how children in these and other socio-economically disadvantaged situations and populations have been performing poorly academically since virtual school started. Their grades have taken a hard hit. I am the person who can change the future just by striving to do better at assisting others in areas, like English and Law, where they would not normally be able to afford the assistance.
Life is too short to be uneducated, unhappy, and unfulfilled even after a divorce. This scholarship would give me a much-needed boost towards achieving my SMART goal of obtaining my B.A. degree in English Pre-Law. Applying my knowledge from receiving my B.A. degree is a catalyst to bless as many people as I can during my career at a time when help is needed most. I understand becoming a lawyer that specializes in Real Estate, Estate Planning, and Business Law is not a small feat. Neither is my passion, determination, desire, and commitment to serve pro bono as a Family Law Attorney for financially disadvantaged populations and victims of domestic violence. I am always up for a healthy challenge.
If the Lord wills, I will utilize my career as a lawyer to help set future generations of families up for financial freedom and success during life events like divorce and after death takes place. I will pay forward the blessings that I have received over the years that have brought my children and me out of domestic violence and homelessness into a life of endless possibilities. Receiving this scholarship would be an honor on such a level that would leave me speechless and in awe but inspired to action. A legacy of poverty, lack of education, and unemployment is unsatisfactory. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the Jean Simmons Single Parent Scholarship, so I can continue working on creating a legacy of higher education, philanthropy, and financial independence.
*Jean Simmons, a highly successful real estate professional, established the Jean Simmons After-Divorce Scholarship Fund in 2002 (now the Jean Simmons Single Parent Scholarship) to help people get on their feet after divorce. Jean Simmons actively served her community throughout her lifetime. During her years in Georgia, she served as a CASA volunteer, worked with Safepath Children’s Advocacy Center, and created a backpack program for underprivileged children through MUST Ministries. Jean developed and taught Life After Divorce classes for many years. Jean passed away on November 10, 2015 and since then, her four children continue her legacy by continuing to award scholarships to eligible single parents. If you are a single parent residing in Cobb, Douglas, Fulton, Gilmer, Gwinnett, Paulding, Bartow Cherokee or Pickens County, Georgia for at least one year and have received your high school diploma or GED and are a U.S. Citizen with custodial children and would like to apply for The Jean Simmons Single Parent Scholarship, please click here.
Let us help you help make a difference in someone’s life. Call 770-859-2366 or email CCFTeam@cobbfoundation.org.