When I was asked what an education means to me I had so many thoughts that came to mind. But the one that means the most is that having an education gives me the power to choose.
Having an education means I can choose what I want to study, and how I can help my community with what I learn. Having an education means I will be able to someday choose a job, not just take whatever I can get. Having an education means I get to choose who I want to share my life with, not hope that they choose me. Having an education means that I can choose to start a family when I’m ready, not because I’m out of options.
I can get somewhere with the education I have received so far and the simple fact that I am a strong female even though the odds are against me. But I don’t want to get just anywhere. I want to get where I want to go. And I want to choose where that is.
So I guess having an education isn’t just a piece of paper saying that I can pass Science, or Math, or English. Having an education is a piece of paper that says I can have a future.
It is my power to choose.
Jernie Brooks is a 9th grader who lives in a home with her mother, 3 younger sisters, and 1 older brother. Jernie has been a part of the WYM Soul Sister Program since 2009, and has shown potential to be a leader in her community. Jernie lives in a community that is heavily exposed to violence, sexual exploitation, and drugs, but has chosen to remain as focused on her education as she can be. This year Jernie’s mother told WYM that she can no longer afford to keep Jernie and school and will be taking her out.
$50 a month is all that is needed to give Jernie a future.