Guest post by Josie Rose, SFLA Student Leader
My name is Josie Rose, and I am the current President of Students for Life at Queens College, New York. I want to share something that I’m very proud of: I created my own non-profit scholarship foundation for pregnant and parenting students.
When I first started fundraising for this scholarship, I was a freshman at Queens College and Vice president of the Queens College chapter of Students for Life. My good friend and former roommate Norvilia Etienne, who now works for Students for Life of America, was the president and founder of our club. She inspired us to create a scholarship for pregnant and parenting students at Queens College. We initially fundraised about $300, which was enough to begin talks with the Queens College Administration. However, it wasn’t enough to have a recurring scholarship year after year.
I decided to run with this idea and create a scholarship that would grow and last. My family encouraged me to create a private foundation so that I could be in charge of the fundraising and awarding of the scholarship. I was put into contact with Camille Cisneros, the head of the Standing With You Initiative at Students for Life, who helped me find an accountant. Within one year, we were ready to accept donations.
$14,000 in fundraising later, the Kathleen Mullally Foundation, an independent non-profit dedicated to helping pregnant or parenting students finish their education, was born. I decided to name this scholarship after my Aunt Kathy Mullally, who passed away two years ago. She never had children of her own, but all 40 of her nieces and nephews were like grandchildren to her. I couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to remember her than by naming this foundation after her- it is exactly what she would have wanted.
This past July, we gave our first ever biannual $1,000.00 grant to Malika Pegues. She is an inspiration. When I read that she attended classes during the pandemic with her three children while living in a domestic violence shelter, all on her own, my heart leaped out to her. On top of that, she is a veteran and a crisis counselor, majoring in Psycho-Neurobiology & Therapeutic Recreation at Queens College.
When we gave her the award during a ceremony at a local pregnancy help organization, The Bridge to Life, her words nearly brought me to tears, “Thank you. No one has ever told me that what I did was worthy of praise […]”
Those words are going to fuel my work for the rest of my life. Every mother needs to know that they are strong, inspirational, and praiseworthy. I hope to continue my fundraising efforts and expand this scholarship citywide, then statewide. Every student should have access to support like this.
The best part is that it doesn’t have to stop there- Students for Life of America helped me do this, and they can help students everywhere accomplish even greater things!