The Julie’s Helpers Memorial Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce the following recipients of the 6th annual Scholarship:
$2,500 Scholarship: Kristen Laughlin – Kristen is an amazing young woman who truly embodies Julie’s spirit of service to others. She has already earned an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration and is now in her senior year at the University of New Mexico (UNM), working towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration/ Accounting. As a single mother to a young boy and while continuing to maintain her academic standing on the Dean’s List, she also devotes time to helping others, including such volunteer activities as completing tax returns for mentally and physically disabled people and helping at events to feed homeless people at local shelters. Her goals include continuing her education to earn a Master’s Degree and becoming a Certified Public Accountant, and then using her education to encourage Native owned businesses; guide Native businesses, entrepreneurs, and the community toward financial success; and help establish self-sufficiency on the Reservation – all while offering free income tax services to educate people on how to complete their own tax returns. Like Julie, Kristen has a servant’s heart with a clear record of meeting her goals, and the Scholarship Committee is excited to help her pursue them!
$1,000 Scholarship: LaShai Jake – LaShai is another remarkable young woman with a compelling story. Also a senior at UNM, LaShai is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Education with an emphasis on Navajo Linguistics and Psychology, and will be the first in her family to graduate from college. She plans to continue her education by earning a Master’s Degree in Public Health and Social Work. Her own experiences have shaped her desire to work with young Navajo children who are victims of abuse; educate her community and create safer environments for kids; and help families build healthy, safe relationships. She displays amazing fortitude by maintaining her academic status on the Dean’s List as a full-time student while also working full-time – all while parenting two younger siblings, aged 14 and 8, who became homeless due to her parents’ own overwhelming personal struggles. Because of this, she has been recognized as a UNM Sabrina Single Mother’s Scholar, and the Julie’s Helpers Memorial Scholarship Committee is delighted to be able to offer a second scholarship to such a determined and deserving young woman!
$500 Scholarship: Dana Pinto – Dana, who credits her paternal grandmother with instilling in her the importance of education, will also be the first in her family to graduate from college. That belief in the power of education motivates Dana to pursue her degree in Elementary Education and ultimately her goal to build the foundation of education in her community by teaching young Navajo children. Dana hopes to reach out to these students and show them that a young Navajo student who grew up on the Reservation can go on to college and get a degree, no matter what the circumstances are. The Scholarship Committee shares that belief and is happy to be able to provide assistance to Dana in her endeavor!