It's been a crazy couple of weeks. I have seen so much love and support from you all. I wish I could wrap my arms around all of you for a huge bear hug!
I am very pleased to say that we have officially made ...and exceeded the goal of $3,065. *Victory Dance* I will officially be attending classes at Howard University in August. This would not be possible without each and every one of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I am looking forward to performing for you all on Friday, April 4th at 9pm at Columbia Station in Adams Morgan. Words can't express enough how grateful I am.
With just a little more than two weeks until showtime, it seems unreal to me still. In two months we were able to raise 85% of the total goal!
I am honored to have all of you all's support. I can't thank you all enough.
On Friday, April 4th, I am very excited to be able to perform for you all. Keep spreading the word y'all! I'd love to see you and yours on this very special night.
Please be sure to RSVP by March 31st. There are a lot of incentive packages and I'd like to make sure I can make them all in time. If you have not received an email regarding the concert please contact me.
"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." "” Albert Schweitzer
Thank you all for re-lighting my flame for education. Each time I think about giving up or feeling like it's too hard, I know I can always look to one of you for encouragement. Thank you. You all are the best inspirations a lady could ask for!
As you all have done for me, I encourage you to keep smiling. I hope my smile can be a small spark in your life, just as your support has been a huge spark in mine.
I can't wait to see you all at the concert on Friday, April 4th, so that I can thank you in person.
"Joy is meant to be felt; its not meant to be detained. It is meant to be shared with others; not to be felt alone. When all the mouths smile out their teeth together, thats when the greatest happiness can be measured. You don't smile in order to see your friends cry and claim your joy is divine."
"• Israelmore Ayivor
I am nearly speechless.
Tonight, I am happy to say, together, we have reached 67% of the overall goal. I am grinning from ear to ear, dancing around, blasting my happy music, and inviting you all to Smile with me!
I wish there were more words to express how elated I am right now. I feel so close to the re-start button to finish the rest of my college career! To all of those who believe in me, and who support me on this journey, this Smile is for you!
Today's a new day! I can't believe it! I've reached a huge milestone this morning. I've raised over $1000 thanks to all of you. Couldn't do it without you. *Smiles* As a celebration I'm going to commence dancing around my living room and I might need to open mic tonight I'm so excited! Details to come. Thank you so much for all of your support!
Yesterday, I entered a contest called #ShineLikeAStar for Essence Online : Black Women In Hollywood. The rules were to upload a photo via Instagram (btw I'm @ISmilezALot ) and explain why you were #shining in your own life. This is what I wrote:
On January 1st, 2014, I was notified that I would not be able to attend college, at Howard University, until I payed off my previous balance. I didn't even have a job, let alone $3,000 to spare. Instead of giving up, I've launched my campaign, booked my first solo jazz concert, got in contact with the Washington City Paper, WJLA Channel 7 News, and wake up every morning on a mission to raise money to return to Howard. Although, there are days I just want to cry, I still pick my head up and keep a watchful eye out for the next steps. I am the first of my mother's children to go to college. My mother never went, and thus, could not tell me what my next steps should be. I'm paving the way for myself and my younger siblings, and showing them that it's possible to get a higher education. I have inspired some of my friends to start their musical careers as well. This is the first time I'm putting this down on paper and realizing all I've accomplished in 24 days. I am shining bright in 2014! I wont give up! Won't God do it?!
I just received an email from Howard University's registrar and it reads as follows:
Howard University Community:
Spring 2014 registration has been extended through Friday, Jan. 24. Please note: the Course Override Form functionality has been disabled and will resume on Tuesday, Jan. 21. This extension should afford all eligible students the opportunity to successfully complete the enrollment process.
Office of the Registrar
I know this is late notice but there is yet time! If I can raise $2545 I will be able to register! I know this is asking a lot, but please help me get back in class! I promise that I will work harder than I ever have to make sure all of your contributions are not in vain.
I just received my first "Creative Time" donation of $150! I am dancing around like a lunatic right now! To all of those who plan to donate I want to stress that even $5 is a dance worthy contribution, but for this anonymous donation, whoever you are, Thank you VERY much!
If you missed it here is the short story that ABC 7 News - WJLA did on me this evening.
As I say in the interview, I don't want people to think I'm a sob story. I want people to support me because they believe I can do it. I am very very hard working and have a lot of life ahead of me. However, if I don't get this education I may have to put that future on hold. Please help me live my dream by donating at my Go Fund Me page. Even five dollars gets me that much closer rejoining my fellow Bison in pursuit of a successful future.
I've been receiving some very positive support lately. I know times are hard and maybe you can't donate right now. However, If you could please share my page with your friends I would really appreciate it! Yesterday I was re-tweeted by Grammy Award winning Jazz artist Robert Glasper and For DC mayor and current DC Councilman Marion Barry. Let's keep the momentum going! Thank you sooo Much!
Lately I've been feeling a little discouraged. It's very hard to go from doing it all on your own to Needing those around you. I was beginning to ask myself if my monetary short coming was a reflection of my collegiate career...of my life as a student. So I went in all of my bins of stuff I moved to DC with...and I went searching. I found all of my awards, congratulations, letters of appreciation, acceptance letters, A+'s...everything I could find.
Did you hear me? I had to dig in a bin I've just been shoving things into for almost two years... I realized that I am not a lack-luster student. I've just been pushing all of my accomplishments down in a box. I've been I've been ignoring my progress just trying to get a diploma.
Well, the first step to rebuilding a healthier attitude about this journey was to look at what I've done. I really sat down for once and celebrated my small accomplishments thus far. Celebrate with Me!
This is just a small bump in the road. Soon I'll be back in the classroom making more progress. To those who have already donated, Thank You. For those who plan to donate, Thank You. I know that with faith in God, a positive attitude going forward, and your help I will meet my goal.
Hey There! My name is Le'Naiya Blackwell. I am a second year Howard University student looking to finish my college career. I started my journey to receiving a higher education in the Fall 2010 at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. Although Pitt-Greensburg offered me a lot of opportunity they did not offer the opportunity to study music in depth.
After much thought and research about the Jazz studies program at Howard, I knew it was where I belonged. I auditioned and was accepted in the Fall of 2012 and have been thoroughly enjoying my time there ever since. My musical knowledge has grown exponentially. My love and appreciation for all of the Jazz icons has matured. My overall love for music was rekindled. I have even begun to find my own sound.
Howard University's biography is filled with so many gems socially, academically, culturally, and musically. With that kind of lavish history and legacy comes a great price. With the help of the Trio Scholars program, Grants, Need Based Scholarships, and using good old fashioned Elbow Grease working multiple jobs I was doing pretty well financially.Unfortunately, even with filling out scholarship/grant applications daily I was not able to come up with enough money to stay in school.This is a situation that will continue to occur each semester. However, with your support I will be able to put this money in the vault and focus on saving for the next semester rather than working just to pay the next tuition bill. Therefore, sadly, I am forced to take off a semester from Howard. I immediately started looking for different options that would get me back in class. I discovered this crowdfunding site, GoFundMe.com and went to work advertising and thinking of different ideas and avenues to get support. After I was re-tweeted by former mayor and current City Councilman Marion Barry, my story was featured in the Washington City Paper followed by a news story on WJLA Channel 7 News. I am a hardworking student looking to rejoin my fellow Bison and ultimately get my degree at Howard University. On April 4th, 2014, at 9pm, at Columbia Station located in Adams Morgan, DC I will be giving and Education Benefit Concert to thank all of those who donate $25 right here on GoFundMe. Additionally I've added two other incentives. I have no doubt in my mind that with your help I'll be able to finish my college career and go on to do bigger and better things for the community as a whole. Please give me a chance! Warmest Regards, Le'Naiya Blackwell
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