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2007 Scholardhip Winner Naekia Rowley

 

Scholarship Recipient

Naekia Rowley - Scholarship Recipient


"I was born to help people, all I had to do was figure out why" ~ Naekia

Born as a minority, where parents lacked a higher level of education, things were not easy for Naekia from the beginning. She was raised in a single parent household with her mom working long hours as a Certified Nursing Assistant making only $6.00 per hour. Her father scraped by doing migrant work. Naekia and her siblings were forced to live with her grandparents.
Naekia Rowley    

At first, life seemed comfortable with her grandparents and her grandmother was a daily inspiration for Naekia. But the days of content were quickly replaced by tragedy. Her grandfather underwent surgery for throat cancer and her grandmother suffered a heart attack right in front of her. Naekia became the caretaker for her grandparents, the parent for her siblings and the family provider of for all of them.

During this trying time, Naekia still understood the importance of education and enrolled in Palm Beach Community College where she earned a high school and college credit simultaneously. She maintained a 3.8 GPA and ranked number four in a class of 220. National Honor Society, Student Council, Twenty Pearls of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Youth Court, Project Good Fit and Dean's list are among her amazing list of awards and activities.

And she worked part-time at Payless shoe store.

Surprisingly, Naekia's career path was revealed to her. For seven long days she had laid by her side watching her grandmother suffer in a vegetative state, without being able to assist her. "As badly as I wanted to help, all I could do was sit there and hold her hand during her final moments." Her goal was to become a nurse and continue her caregiving efforts as a career.

Now this amazing young woman is enrolled in Florida Atlantic University's Nursing School.

Naekia reflects, "I have learned that there is no challenge that I cannot face and no current that will wash my tenaciousness away. I am ready to succeed, and the foundation has been formed in the making of my character."

Godspeed, Naekia.

Submitted by Morgan Green, Volunteer

U.S. and International Caregiving Youth Facts

 

  • There are an estimated 1.3-1.4 million caregiving children ages 8-18 years old in the U.S. Of these, 38% provide care for a grandparent and 34% provide care for a parent - Young Caregivers in the U.S.; National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) & United Hospital Fund, 2005.
     
  • Nationally, there are an estimated 36.5 million caregiving households in which 37% of participants (13.5 million) also had children under the age of 18 years living at home - Caregiving in the U.S; NAC/AARP, 2009.
     
  • Of 1,626 sixth grade students surveyed in five Palm Beach County middle schools in 2008, 563 are caregivers; 344 have significant caregiving responsibilities. Caregiving youth project survey results, 2009. www.aacy.org.
     
  • The 2000 U.S. Census shows that 6.1 million children live in a home with a grandparent. Census, 2008.
     
  • "Not every child gets 18 years of childhood. Some have to become responsible adults well before their bodies grow into maturity." How to help youth caregivers: Children caring for sick relatives need some attention of their own. Ryan. Contemporary Pediatrics, March 1, 2008.
     
  • "By 2006 there was only one dedicated initiative, the Caregiving Youth Project, in Boca Raton, Florida, compared with over 350 projects in the UK." Global perspectives on children's unpaid caregiving in the family: research and policy on young carers in the UK, Australia, the USA and Sub-Saharan Africa. Becker. Global Social Policy. 2007; 7: 23-50.
     
  • More than 25% of all public school children, grades 6-12 in Palm Beach County, incurred adverse effects on their education as a result of caregiving - What Works Survey Final Report. Miller, Bunker, & Kelley-Miller, 2003.
     
  • "The main reason why children undertake inappropriate caring roles is a lack of adequate support services for their ill/disabled relatives. If appropriate and adequate support services are not provided, most of the care and support required falls to family members." Statistical profiles of young carers. Centre for Child and Family Research. Evidence Issue 3; Aldridge & Becker, 2003.

 

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