Help Chris Stay in School!

My name is Christopher Brown and I am a senior at the University of Montevallo. I am studying Collaborative Education K-6 so that I can teach Special Education or teach in an inclusion classroom. Since entering the Education program at UM I have made all A's while maintaining a full time job to help support my family. I have managed to excel in my chosen degree, be proficient at my job, and maintain a healthy family life. However, finances have become an obstacle in my family's future that I'm unsure we can overcome without help.

I grew up in a low-income area with my mother who worked third shift to support us. I would come home after school and do my homework, make dinner, study for my classes, and get myself to bed so that I could go to school the next day. My mother was very supportive but when you are in a one parent home you have to make sacrifices to make ends meet. With her love and support and the guidance from some amazing teachers I graduated from high school in 2003.

I started college at a local community college but it wasn't long before I had to quit school to work full time. This was common place in the area I grew up in. Most people went straight into the workforce. For the next several years I worked in several jobs trying to improve my situation. In 2008 my now wife wanted to move to Montevallo to go to school. It was a scary thought but we moved and she started classes in 2009. The following year I started classes as well. We both worked through college and I graduated in 2015 with a degree in business. I immediately started looking for employment at any and all institutions within a fifty mile radius. I was heartbroken to discover that no one was willing to hire someone with a business degree that didn't also have experience. With my wife's support I returned to the University of Montevallo to study Education.

Since returning to school I feel as though I have truly found my calling. I'm doing better in my classes than I've ever done in school and it's because I care about what I'm doing. I'm so thankful for this chance to earn my Special Education degree. However, I am no longer eligible for financial aid. After one semester my aid was reduced. I took out a credit card and my wife used our savings to get me through my second semester and summer classes. Now I've been informed that my financial aid will be removed altogether. My wife is a Special Education teacher and between her salary and me working full time as a cook we're barely covering our bills. We've depleted our savings but we've come too far to quit. I have three semesters plus summer classes left before I earn my degree. We can see the finish line. As difficult as it is for me to ask for help I know that I cannot continue my education without it. If you choose to invest in my education please know that my family is incredibly grateful and that you are investing not just in my future or the future of my family but the future of the hundreds of students that I am so eager to work with. With your help I will finish and I will use my degree to better the lives of others.

Thank you,
Christopher Brown and family
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Chris Brown 
Montevallo, AL