Scholarship Amount: $10,000
School: Trent University
Program: Environmental Science
My name is Jazzmin F. and I am a second-year student in Trent University’s Environmental Science program. I lost my mother when I was 10 years old.
My mom was inspirational. I remember the way she smiled, I remember how much she loved nature, and woods behind our house. Most of all, I remember her always dancing. Everywhere we went and in everything she did. I remember watching her and dreaming of being a dancer when I grew up. I wanted to go to the Canadian School of Contemporary Dance in Toronto when I was older. I wanted to be strong like her.
Before I was born, she and my dad had a house built in the woods near North Bay, where I would spend the first 10 years of my life. He had been injured in a snowmobile accident and was unable to work, so Mom became a home care worker to support the family. She did everything: working, taking care of me and my dad, and looking after the house. She is the strongest person I have ever known.
Then, while I was visiting with my grandma, we received a phone call. My mother had been killed in a tragic accident while she and my dad were using the elevator they had installed for him in our family home. My father was also injured. Not only physically, but he became emotionally broken after witnessing her die right beside him.
My parents didn’t have any life insurance. My dad says that they couldn’t afford it with my mom’s wages and they never considered the possibility of anything tragic ever happening. But it did happen. My dad and I were devastated. If we had financial support, we could both have gone for counselling and therapy to help us heal from our heartbreak. But we could barely even get by. Unfortunately, my father was unable to provide for me and I had to stay with friends for many years. My dreams of becoming a dancer became a memory and were no longer a possibility for my future. I felt lost.
Then I met my partner, Peter, and he helped me put the pieces of my life back together. I started going for counselling to work through the trauma of losing my mom. After we had a child together, we both got a life insurance policy to make sure that our son would never have to give up on his dreams like I had to.
With the support of Peter and his family, I have started my healing process and finished high school. I am now on the dean’s honour roll at Trent’s Environmental Science Program with a 3.9 GPA and I think about my mom every time I am in the woods. Best of all, I am dancing again. I am taking dance classes as part of my electives at school and I even perform from time to time.