Introducing the 2019-20 Girls on the Rise | Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City

Big Blog

Introducing the 2019-20 Girls on the Rise

Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City is proud to partner with the 1,000 Dreams Fund and the BBBSKC Ambassadors once again to feature the 2019-2020 class of Girls on the Rise!

This year, 5 Little Sisters from the Kansas City area with extraordinary potential were selected as Girls on the Rise. As recipients of this honor, they'll each receive funds to visit the colleges of their dreams! Meet this year's Girls on the Rise below.

Asha

Ever since her father passed away when she was younger, Asha started taking steps that would lead her to a better life. That’s when she started feeling like the future could be a much better place — because it was in her hands. Now a senior at Wynandotte High School, Asha has accomplished a lot on the path to her professional dream of becoming a Registered Nurse or a dental hygienist. She has her sights set on the University of Missouri – Kansas City or Metropolitan Community College after she graduates in May 2020.

What is something you are most proud of?

This year, I am proud that I was accepted to KC Scholars and the Girls on the Rise program. I am also proud of taking a college class while I was a junior and for getting into the CNA program for my senior year. I also recently completed an internship with Learning Club.

Have you gone through any tough or challenging times? If yes, how did you deal with those challenges?

The biggest challenge I have faced was my father’s death. It was hard for me because I felt like I had nobody to take care of me. My mother was sick at the time and unable to take care of me. I felt like I had to grow up early and take care of myself. I missed out on a lot of things for that reason, and sometimes I felt like I was doing everything wrong because I was just a kid. It felt scary when I had nobody to look up to. But, I would always think about my future and how I could make things better.

What does it mean to you to be selected as a Girl on the Rise?

It means a lot to be a part of Girls on the Rise because the program is helping create the vision I’ve had since I was a kid. I don’t let anything discourage me from pursuing my dream because I don’t want to let my dream just be a dream. So, it means a lot to receive support from GOTR because it encourages me to work harder in reaching my goals and achieving my dreams.

What inspired you to want to be involved with Girls on the Rise?

My childhood inspired me to be involved with Girls on the Rise because that’s where all my ambition to have a great future comes from. I didn’t have a great childhood, so I’m doing everything I can to live a better life. Being a part of the Girls on the Rise program is turning my vision into real life.

How will funding from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals? In other words: Why is the opportunity to visit your prospective colleges important to your journey?

Visiting colleges is important to me because I am a visual person who likes to see things — especially the place I’m going to be in the future. I like the opportunity that Girls on the Rise is giving me because I want to go to a college where I feel comfortable.

What schools will you use the funding to visit, and why?

The schools I’m planning on visiting with the funding from Girls on the Rise are University of Missouri – Kansas City for their dental hygienist program and Metropolitan Community College for their nursing program.

Jhudanne

While her Jamaican heritage has shaped her individuality, her love of animals has guided Jhudanne’s professional dreams. The Raytown Senior High School senior wants to major in biology before attending veterinary college to specialize in zoological medicine. She has her eye on University of Florida after she graduates next May.

What is something you are most proud of?

I am most proud of my heritage. I definitely have no hesitation telling others that my family is Jamaican. Growing up in America as an immigrant has definitely helped shape my sense of individuality, so my culture is something that I hold dear to my heart.

Have you gone through any tough or challenging times? If yes, how did you deal with those challenges?

I think the most challenging period in my life was at the end of my freshman year when my mom passed away. Not only did I have to learn how to deal with genuine grief, but I also had to adjust to moving in with my aunt’s family while maintaining good grades in school. Through these challenges, I have learned that the best way to muscle through them is by allowing yourself to depend on people around you. I now know that most people want to help you out in any way they can, and even the smallest bit of assistance makes a difference — especially if it comes in the form of taco soup!

What does it mean to you to be selected as a Girl on the Rise?

I am more than ecstatic to be involved in this program because it gives me a better chance of attending my dream college. As a Girl on the Rise, I also get the opportunity to be part of a community of driven girls who have a similar college-oriented mindset.

What inspired you to want to be involved with Girls on the Rise?

I was inspired to join Girls on the Rise about a year-and-a-half ago at the annual Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City banquet. It was the first time I had heard of the program, but from the start, I knew that this was definitely something that I wanted to do. My Big Sister Beth, who is an avid supporter of my dreams, encouraged me a lot as well. In fact, she was the one who reminded me to apply for the scholarship!

How will funding from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals? In other words: Why is the opportunity to visit your prospective colleges important to your journey?

I believe that visiting a college campus plays a vital role in deciding what university is best suited for you. Since the University of Florida is my number one choice, I feel that this visit is my most important — especially since it’s so far away from where I live now. I can do online research about the campus, but it wouldn’t have the same effect as walking around to see what a day as a student is actually like. Before committing to a college, I want to experience the reality of a normal day.

Kaliyah

Take one look at Kaliyah’s 3.9 GPA, and you would never know that she once struggled with her studies. This inspiring Hogan Prep High School senior didn’t let anything hold her back, working hard to exceed her goals, and she continues to do just that. She has her eye on the University of Central Missouri — her dream school — and wants to pursue a career in family law.

What is something you are most proud of?

I’m most proud of finishing my junior year with all As and a 3.9 GPA.

Have you gone through any tough or challenging times? If yes, how did you deal with those challenges?

When I was younger, my reading level and comprehension was not as good as my peers. Over summer breaks, my family helped me prepare for the next grade. We worked on my literature and mathematical understanding. Everyone around pushed me to overcome and overachieve my grade level — before I even started the school semester!

What does it mean to you to be selected as a Girl on the Rise?

This program allows me to be able to focus more on selecting colleges that I like and gives me more opportunities to achieve my goals.

What inspired you to want to be involved with Girls on the Rise?

It is an inspiration and goal of mine to become a family lawyer. But, there are many consideration for that, so I wanted to be involved in the Girls on the Rise program to find what would be the best fit for me in college sooner rather than later.

How will funding from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals? In other words: Why is the opportunity to visit your prospective colleges important to your journey?

This funding is important to my journey because it gives me an understanding of what I would or wouldn’t like in college; it allows me to figure out what suits me best and to review what majors I’m interested in and what each college can offer.

What schools will you use the funding to visit, and why?

My top schools I want to visit are the University of Missouri—Kansas City, Missouri State University, and Washington University in St. Louis because these schools have top programs for physiology. They are also close to home, which is very ideal for my first two years of college.

Myaun

MyAun, a senior at University Academy, has many careers that interest her — from being a producer, to social media manager, campaign manager, stage manager, screenwriter, or playwriter, or even working in public relations. But, right now, she is focused on graduating high school with a 3.8 GPA or higher — that, and getting her driver’s permit and license soon. While she’s currently planning on pursuing a journalism or mass communications major in college, she knows the importance of keeping her options open for exploring many career paths.

What is something you are most proud of?

I am proud that one of my pieces of poetry, “Shades of Pain,” was published twice in Elementia magazine.

Have you gone through any tough or challenging times? If yes, how did you deal with those challenges?

Yes. On my fifth birthday, I received the best present a girl could ask for — my dog, Keo. He was the best little brother ever; I referred to him as my little brother because, over time, he became family. In March 2019, Keo was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He was in pain, wouldn’t eat, and struggled to get up. As a family, we decided to put Keo down instead of having him suffer. This was a really tough thing to do. My little brother was gone. Life was different. The house was different. It was quieter. No longer did I hear the tapping of his paws on our hardwood floors. He wasn’t excitedly waiting in me to come home after school anymore. There was no one barking at us to eat dinner anymore. It was tough. However, I got through it with a lot of prayer and talking and reminiscing with my mom. I still miss him and think about him every day.

What does it mean to you to be selected as a Girl on the Rise?

It is an honor and such an amazing opportunity to be selected. The scholarship will allow me to visit the college campus that I want to attend.

What inspired you to want to be involved with Girls on the Rise?

I remember first hearing about Girls on the Rise at the Big Brothers Big Sisters banquet and I always wondered what it was and what it took to be part of the program. So, when I heard that I could sign up, I knew I had the join. When I saw what the Girls on the Rise scholarship helps with — and the amazing opportunity it provides — I knew I had to sign up.

How will funding from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals? In other words: Why is the opportunity to visit your prospective colleges important to your journey?

There are so many amazing colleges and universities in the Midwest region. Being able to visit the colleges I’m interested in will help me narrow down my list — and it will even help me revisit the school that is currently my first choice.

What schools will you use the funds to visit?

I plan to visit K-State, University of Missouri—Columbia, University of Central Missouri, Drake, University of Iowa, Evangel, and Missouri State University.

Tessa

Not only does Tessa feel passionate about pursuing an undergraduate — and possibly graduate-level — degree in biomedical or mechanical engineering, she wants to eventually use her future successful career to give back to her mother and the community. The University Academy senior is currently considering the University of Kansas and Mizzou as two of her dream schools, but she’s open to exploring others as she embarks on her final year of high school.

What is something you are most proud of?

I am most proud of being able to maintain a 4.0 GPA this far in my high school career.

Have you gone through any tough or challenging times? If yes, how did you deal with those challenges?

Yes, I had a rigorous time with my dual credit class last school year. I dealt with that by leaning on the support of my friends, my big sis, and my mother as well as reaching out to the teacher and prior students of the class.

What does it mean to you to be selected as a Girl on the Rise?

Being chosen as a Girl on the Rise shows me that a prominent organization sees the value in me and is willing to aid in my journey to higher education.

What inspired you to want to be involved with Girls on the Rise?

I saw this as an opportunity to further aid in my path towards higher education.

How will funding from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals? In other words: Why is the opportunity to visit your prospective colleges important to your journey?

It will help me be able to visit colleges or pay for college applications that I otherwise may not be able to afford on my own.

What schools will you use the funding to visit, and why?

So far, I have decided to visit the University of Missouri—Colombia, University of Kansas, and Kansas State. But my mind is open to any other schools that may come across my path later on in the school year.