Harvard Kennedy School Expenses

In 2010, I became severely  ill, resulting in countless hospitalizations and surgeries over several years. As a result, I had to leave Israel, stop litigating in NYC, and ultimately move to Charlotte, NC with my family. This left me isolated from my friends and a Jewish community and unable to access the greatest of healthcare. 

During these years, I experienced first-hand how difficult it is for people with severe disabilities or chronic illnesses to survive in the US. So I became a disability activist, Ms. Wheelchair NC, began advising politicians, writing op-eds, being a motivational speaker, volunteering for disability rights organizations and working with the NC Democratic Party as well as individual Republican politicians on disability rights and policy. 

While these positions were volunteer positions, I realized I wanted to go into politics and government to make a larger impact and change the face of disability in a world where so few politicians have visible disabilities like my own. Once my health stabilized, I applied to get a degree in public policy. To my utter surprise I got into Harvard Kennedy School with the John F. Kennedy scholarship, which covers tuition. 

However, I need some help coming up with funds for room, board, books and personal care attendants. Because I need fully accessible housing with room for an overnight attendant, the cost of housing is even more exorbitant than the average $2,000 per month rent in Cambridge. My meager SSDI minus existing bills simply can’t cover everything. 

Going to Harvard would not only give me a priceless degree and powerful network to enter the world of politics, it will allow me to be back in a Jewish community, more hours for personal care attendants, and access to the best medical treatment, including Spinraza, the first and only drug that treats SMA, which I cannot access in NC or any neighboring state. This opportunity could literally change my life. 

I am so close to fulfilling a dream I never even imagined I could accomplish. Any amount you can give to help me attend Harvard, reintegrate into a Jewish community, get the healthcare I need and live life once again, I would be forever grateful and in your debt. 

If you wish to give to me directly so as not to have a percentage deducted, to pay the school housing directly, or to see my acceptance letter, please feel free to contact me under the contact button. 

Thank you,
  • Emily Zimmern 
    • $100 
    • 29 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $200 
    • 42 mos
  • Jessica Lynn Gimeno 
    • $15 
    • 42 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $40 
    • 42 mos
  • David Shimshi 
    • $100 
    • 42 mos
See all


Ariella Barker 
Cornelius, NC
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