One of our core beliefs at 10,000 Degrees is that education is the great equalizer. It can help an individual escape from the cycle of poverty. As a first-generation college graduate, I got to see this first hand.
I grew up in foster and group homes. I attended four different high schools and moved over a dozen times before I was even in college. Getting into and graduating from UC Berkeley is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life.
High school did not prepare me for the academic rigors of Berkeley. I was failing most of my classes. I was working, and received some financial aid, but I was barely getting by. I went to my advisor, Pat, and told her I wanted to drop out. Somehow, I ended up telling her my entire life’s story. By the end of our conversation, she was in tears … but she wanted to help. Pat connected me to Daisy in the financial aid office who helped me get more financial aid. Pat also withdrew me from the classes I was failing, so I got to start my second semester clean.
I wish I had known about an organization like 10,000 Degrees when I was going to school. Although I was pretty much on my own, by the grace of God, I graduated. Now, I’m in a position where I’m the Daisy, and get to give away $4 million a year in scholarships to students in need. Sometimes things happen for a reason.
I feel so lucky to have worked for 10,000 Degrees these past nine years, and see everything come full circle. I am proud to be ONE DEGREE.