Your Support means
“From the time I was a young girl, I’ve known exactly what I wanted to be when I grow up. "I want to be a veterinarian!" was often met with laughs scuffs and head shakes. I never really saw any veterinarians that looked like me so maybe my dream seemed far-fetched. Discussing my lifeplans became exasperating, and naysayers overwhelmed the majority of my thoughts as I grew older.
My father struggled with alcoholism and for a while jail was his second home, while mom struggled to make sure the rent was paid, and nutritious meals were on the table each night.
My high school counselor, knowing my background took a look at me- a low-income student with great grades, and still said the words "I think we need to come up with a more realistic plan."
School was always my solace when home wasn’t great, but poor coping mechanisms with my home life led to me getting pregnant at 15. I gave birth to my beautiful little girl on my 16th birthday. Going through high school pregnant and then a teen mom? Many of my advisors were waiting for me to become a 'statistic'.
But then came the Stay 4 Program; people with full hearts and enough 'belief in you' to pass around to whoever needed it. My meetings with them reassured me that I had someone rooting for me when most people were watching and waiting for me to sink.
The financial and emotional support I got from Stay 4 was immense. With their help throughout the rest of the way, I graduated from high school Summa Cum Laude and received a full tuition scholarship from Millikin university, then completed my Bachelor's in Science as a Presidential Scholar. But the doubts continued; my college honors advisor asked me "Are you sure you want to go to veterinarian school? I don’t think you’re going to get into veterinarian school and even if you do, I don’t think you’re going to finish."
Last May, I graduated with honors from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine! With the support and reassurance from Stay 4 I have made my dreams come true. There are many stories like mine, but there are many more that could’ve been like mine, but drowned in those rapid waves of doubt, which is why Stay 4 is crucial for those of us that no one believes in.
Take a chance on us; we just might surprise you:)
Dr. Jenesi Moore, Previous Stay 4 Student