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Erin delivered the following spoken remarks at a Scholarship America event in May 2004 attended by Scholarship America donors, Board members, and staff.
"I just finished my first year at American University in Washington DC. It’s a privilege my family can’t afford to give me without the help of Scholarship America and the Families of Freedom Scholarship.
"I am the oldest of seven children. It’s hard enough making ends meet in a family that large, but my parents made it possible.
"On September 11th, things for my family became much more difficult. My father was killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center. In grieving, trying to help my mom take care of my brothers and sisters, and trying to work at the same time, my grades slipped. I knew I needed good grades in order to get into a good college, something that my dad always wanted for me.
"I wanted to go to college not only because he wanted me to succeed, but because I want to help others. Someday, I want to create an organization for underprivileged children…I want to give them a place where they can go to have fun and be encouraged to live up to their potential at the same time. I know that the goals I have achieved and those that I will continue to strive for have not only made my father proud, but my whole family. I know that without education, my road to reaching my goals would be much more difficult.
"But thankfully, there was hope. Through the Families of Freedom Scholarship, Scholarship America gave me the opportunity to attend this excellent university where I can pursue my dream of helping others. My wish now has a chance of becoming a reality. The trust Scholarship America has placed in me has strengthened my determination to succeed. Scholarship America has made a difference in my life and will continue to help our family for many years until all my brothers and sisters have completed their college educations.
"From the bottom of my heart, I thank you, because you’re not just putting me through college, you’re making my dream come true."
"The Families of Freedom Scholarship sustains the memories of all those lost or suffering due to 9/11. It is so humbling that donors, who are seemingly strangers, can show such kindness and compassion. Scholarship America gives me strength and hope for a better future."
The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund benefits financially needy dependent children, spouses, and domestic partners of 9/11 victims. If you are eligible to receive assistance, you'll need to complete a one-time registration; after that, you will need to submit an application each year.
Use the "Planning Ahead" Estimated Award Calculator to stimate what the family is expected to contribute to the student's college expenses, and the amount that may be awarded to you for the upcoming academic year.