In their own words: Meet the 2020 Ambassadors of Potential Scholarship recipients | Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City

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In their own words: Meet the 2020 Ambassadors of Potential Scholarship recipients

This year, the BBBSKC Board of Ambassadors awarded $13,000 in scholarships to 7 incredible Little Brothers and Sisters. These are their stories.

Mar'Queies Johnson — Missouri Western State University

“There are so many ways that having a college degree would help me reach my goals, but the biggest would be to make my mother proud — she is my life. I was born when she was just a senior in high school. Even as a brand new mother, she pursued college to become a nurse. 

Unfortunately, she didn't get many scholarship opportunities, and she was forced to drop out to care for me. When I was ten years old, my mother went back to college to finish what she had started, and seeing her work so hard inspired me to do great things in my life.

My family has not always had many opportunities to pursue higher education in the past. But that’s slowly starting to change: my older cousin recently graduated from the University of Kansas, and another cousin is currently attending UCM on full scholarship.

A college degree would grant me access to career paths that would otherwise be closed for me. I aspire to be one of the top lawyers in Kansas City. I've met, shadowed, and learned from lawyers and have received all kinds of great advice — but every lawyer I’ve met with has said some version of this: “Get ready to work hard in college, harder in law school, and harder than you have ever thought about working to pass this thing we call life.”

Whenever I ask my cousins what college is, they always say, “A fresh start, a new journey of growth and achievement.” For me, a college degree is about freedom: The freedom to choose my own path, the freedom to make my own life, and the freedom to help better the lives of others with my time and talents.

Now it’s my turn to prove myself and continue this new tradition in the family.”

Jhudanne Fletcher — Iowa State University

“I wouldn’t consider myself much of a dreamer. The word seems to have this hazy connotation. It’s almost as if a dream is something meant only for today, just to be cleared out by the glaring rays of reality tomorrow. Dreams are too temporary.

Instead, I’ve taken a liking to plans. There’s a certain amount of effort and dedication put into a plan, that makes it more tangible than a dream. Plans can change or get postponed, but rarely do they get cancelled. Hence why, all my goals, aspirations, and hopes are all things that I don’t dream, but plan to do in my future.

As I enter Iowa State University as a freshman majoring in biology, my plan is to become educated about the natural world around me, so I’ll be able to contribute to the wellbeing of the people, plants and animals living in it.

I would like to go abroad as a conservation veterinarian, spending a majority of my career passionately working to fix problems in the animal kingdom. But once I become too old to chase primates around the Congo, I plan to volunteer with Veterinarians Without Borders, and then eventually open my own private practice, where I will be able to live out the rest of my life treating lovable pets.”

Josselyn Cervantes — Kansas City Kansas Community College

“I want to become a teacher. Growing up with two little sisters helped me discover my love for watching children grow into what they want to become, and I want to be in a position where I can help create the future and nurture it even when I’m not there.

We are all destined to get something out of life. As a teacher, I may not be able to live luxuriously, but I want to create something that will grow larger and stay around longer than me. I want to know that I did all I could for my future family and for the future alone.

Helping kids understand things and helping them care for each other would be a great accomplishment for me. I want to know I left the future in hands that are able to keep their own legacy alive.

That's why I want to be a teacher.”

Mohamed Dia — Wichita State University

“I moved to the United States at age 3 as a refugee from Senegal, West Africa. During this journey, I became the first in my family to graduate from high school, as well as the first to attend college. Coming from the inner city of Kansas City, Missouri and reflecting on my life, I wish I had more people that looked like me that I could look up to as a beacon of hope knowing that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

I feel that by obtaining a collegiate education, an individual can equip themselves with the power of knowledge to help change their life and the lives of those around them. thus creating a cycle of responsibility that enhances the mindset and climate of the communities that we live in to build a better foundation for the future.

Often in minority communities, children aspire to become athletes or artists because they aren’t exposed to the other professions out there that they might take interest in. I myself didn’t know what STEM was until high school. I think that with the right amount of support from older individuals that children can relate to, we can build a stronger foundation.

I plan to utilize my degree and the skills I’ve gained at Wichita State by serving as a role model and leader in the community, as well as an engineer, to educate and positively influence youth that grew up in similar circumstances like me.”

Adriana Jones — Stephens College

“Growing up, I knew I wanted to go to college. My dad dropped out of school in ninth grade, and though my mom has an associates degree, she always told me how much she regretted not going to a four-year college.

With that in my subconscious as I went through health struggles, my dream of becoming a Child Life Specialist emerged.

I have been sick my entire life; however, it wasn’t until sixth grade that it got serious. I found myself rushing to the ER almost every other week, undergoing test after test, and visiting multiple doctors just to find out what was wrong with me.

I finally got an accurate diagnosis, two to be specific, but my life in the hospital did not end there. Though all this was stressful, there was always a Child Life Specialist helping me and my mom. I always explain a Child Life Specialist as a therapist, doctor, social worker, and a friend all wrapped in one.

In my life, they helped me in all three of these places. Keeping me company when I spent six weeks in the hospital, they helped calm me down, distracted me, and always explained all of the procedures and tests. They brought me things to do, took me to their Child Life activities, and hung out with me. By the time I was 13, I knew being a Child Life Specialist was what I wanted to do.

After working as a Child Life Specialist, I hope to one day lead the Child Life Program at Children’s Mercy Hospital — where everything began for me.”

Kyra Colbert — University of Missouri

“I feel that many individuals are afraid of speaking on things they feel should be different — but not me. It makes me proud that I’ve developed this forceful drive at such a young age. I love that I feel confident voicing my opinions,  as I never know the impact I may cause one day.

I’ve questioned why I was the first in my family to attend college, and I feel that the reason is due to unknown financial burdens, as well as the lack of scholarships that were available at the time. Having the opportunity to receive financial aid to attend college and pursue my goals in life is an essential link to my future. My goal of providing underprivileged individuals access to the same resources with just as much ease and effort as those of higher economic status may just be the support system to significantly impact the next generation of great minds.

Scholarships have opened many doors for individuals who have gone on to earn a college degree and change the world. Knowing that there is someone who recognizes my passion and service only motivates me to continue accomplishing remarkable things in life. I plan to utilize my passion to share my knowledge, support, and services as a family lawyer, financial planner, and social entrepreneur.”

M’Sharra Peters — University of Huston-Victoria

“I want to pursue a career in creative writing.

My interest in writing was originally sparked by my enjoyment of reading books ever since I was a little girl. As a high school student, writing became a way of expression for me. Some of my writings were acknowledged by both teachers and peers from different platforms. These writings turned into early publishing opportunities and fueled my aspiration to become a creative writer.

I find great interest in sparking this same love for reading and writing in youth. This is why I want to publish books for both children and teens. Writing will give me opportunities to connect to youth through various genres of writing, such as action, adventure, mystery, science fiction, and more.

Being equipped with a wealth of knowledge will prepare me for creating writing pieces that will appeal to a young audience. I would love to publish and take my creative writing to the next level so that youth will have creative content to read and learn from.”

Top: Adriana Jones; Middle, left to right: Jhudanne Fletcher, Kyra Colbert; Bottom, left to right: Josselyn Cervantes, Mar'Queies Johnson, Mohamed Dia, M’Sharra Peters