Maimuna is determined to take control of her destiny through higher education. She first learned of the Fulfillment Fund when she was a high school sophomore. The burden of the high costs of college was always a major issue for her and these concerns became more apparent in our one-on-one sessions with Maimuna.
As the daughter of immigrants, the journey has not been easy for her family. When she was still a young child, Maimuna’s father suffered serious medical injuries that prevented him from working. Today, he works a minimum wage job and provides for his family of five. Her older brother is already facing the burden of student debt while still trying to finish his degree at Cal State Northridge. For Maimuna, the idea of anything less than a four-year college was a waste of time and money.
The summer after high school was a major turning point for her; she was admitted into a prominent four-year university but was not able to enroll for the fall due to lack of funding. The Fulfillment Fund was there for her encouraging her not to give up on her educational dreams; we helped her realize that the alternative of starting at a community college was still a great option and would even lessen the financial burden of her education.
I was born an ambitious girl, a girl who to this day has dreams of doing something remarkable in life. I want to be the person my brothers, my parents, my friends, and others look up to.
Maimuna was skeptical but she pushed forward anyway. During her first year at Los Angeles Community College, her perspective started to change as her interests in her academic work strengthened. She became a Ralph Bunche Scholar and excelled in her honors classes. Maimuna joined the Fulfillment Fund for a summer internship. “I had the privilege to have an internship with an organization that has supported me in my college journey,” she wrote in her college transfer application. “I was able to embody the ideology of the Fulfilment Fund and understand that by being given an opportunity, I have a chance to pay it forward. Since then I have decided to not only use tools given to me for my own success but to also help others reach for theirs as well.”
As the end of her second year in community college approaches, Maimuna is more prepared than ever to make the leap from a two-year college to a four-year institution, something most students in her cohort don’t get to experience. We have continued to support her through one-on-one counseling sessions, Destination College, and other seminars through our College Success program. She has shed the stigma she associated with a community college and feels empowered by the success she has achieved so far.
My story does not end here, there are many more life lessons to be taught, and innumerable days of accomplishments. Education is my savior from depression and living in poverty.
STORY UPDATE: Maimuna is currently enrolled at UC Berkeley as a Communications major.