From The Children’s Village to Cornell University: A Journey of Resilience and Hope

As I reflect on my life’s journey, the path from my hard beginnings to where I stand today feels like a testament to the powerful support and opportunity I found at The Children’s Village (CV).

I first arrived at CV in 2002, during a time of neighborhood troubles and instability. Ultimately, it was a hospital stay that led to a court order sending me to CV. Little did I know that this unexpected detour in my life would shape my future in great ways.

During my time at CV, I discovered my love for art. Sketching became second nature, and hanging out in the CV Art Program was a highlight where I got to learn about new mediums. It became a passion that would soon fuel my dreams, much like the artists I admired. I also immersed myself in the canine program, the bonds I formed with these animals taught me invaluable lessons about responsibility and compassion. Opportunities like these were like a key unlocking new parts of me I never thought about before.

However, life was not without its challenges. There were times when I felt overwhelmed and hopeless. I remember an entire year when I barely attended my classes. It was during these dark moments that I found a guiding light in my life – Ms. Joy, a teacher at my school Greenburg Eleven. Her unwavering belief in me turned the tide. She tutored me, kept me on track for academic success, and introduced me to the concept of going to college – something I had never considered.

My journey at CV continued until 2006 when I transitioned to living with my foster parents. This period allowed me to focus on my education and pursue my dreams. I went on to study menswear design at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). However, I soon realized that the fashion industry wasn’t my true calling, and I decided to follow my heart into the world of plant science. In 2021, I earned my bachelor’s degree in this field from SUNY Cobleskill and graduated with my master’s this August from Cornell University.

Fast forward to the present, and I find myself in Napa, California, working in the Wine Industry! My journey from the CV to an Ivy League institution is a testament to the opportunities that continue to emerge because of the support and exposure I received during my time at CV.

What truly stands out from my experience at CV are the lasting relationships I built and the opportunity to explore my passions. I continue to stay in touch with my foster parents and many of the staff members from CV. These connections have been my anchor, providing the support and strength I needed on my journey. I think back on my experiences as true steppingstones for my success, and I continue to say to myself “There’s always more to do in life”. I’m excited to see where my future takes me and never stop exploring!

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