When asked why it’s important to support Kids’ Chance of America (KCOA), scholarship recipient and Kids’ Chance Ambassador Arianna told us, “Everybody needs hope in this dark, dark world. They really do.”
And for many kids like Arianna whose parents were injured on the job, that hope comes in the form of being able to pursue their educational dreams — debt free.
Arianna grew up in a big, modern family of 12. When her parents got divorced, her mother — a Montessori school teacher with a gift for educating and nurturing children — became the sole breadwinner for Arianna and her siblings. Though she struggled to make ends meet as a single mother, she made it work and always provided for her family. That is, until an on-the-job injury left her hospitalized and immobilized for many years.
In the wake of the accident, Arianna started to see college as an impossibility. “I just figured it wasn’t really in the books for me to go away to school because I have to be here to take care of my mom,” she said.
Once she graduated high school, she moved in with her mother and began taking community college courses when she had the time. Eventually, with her mother’s encouragement to “not live life in one place, but go and experience,” Arianna made the leap of faith to move to Philadelphia and attend Temple University.
Her financial fears about paying for college remained, however, as each of her scholarship applications was denied. “I told God I did not want to go to school and have debt,” Arianna explained, “and Kid’s Chance came in and they did just that.”
After just one phone call with Debbie Liberto of Kids’ Chance of Maryland (KCMD), Arianna began to feel hope for her college education and her future. “Debbie’s spirit was so warm and tender,” she remembered, “it just drew me in.”
From that day forward, Arianna knew that she could rely on Debbie to not only facilitate her Kids’ Chance scholarship and help her reach her educational goals, but also be there for her as a mentor and friend. “It wasn't just about school. She sat there and she listened,” Arianna recalled of her frequent check-ins and phone calls with Debbie throughout college. And having Debbie and KCMD on her side made all the difference for Arianna.
Kids’ Chance answered Arianna’s prayers and helped her graduate from college debt-free. And now, Arianna is able to give back to the Kids’ Chance community while pursuing her passion for motivational speaking and content creation through her platform as a Kids’ Chance Ambassador.
“I feel it was important to become a Kids’ Chance Ambassador because I had a great representation of what Kids’ Chance was,” Arianna said. “I was helped beyond what I expected coming in. So to be here today and share my testimony, all of it just comes together full circle.”
“I feel that in this chaotic world, you need a ray of hope – a ray of sunshine,” she continued. “I feel that that ray of sunshine is in Kids' Chance.”