My name is Allen Fernandez. Orignally from North Bergen, NJ, I currently reside in Mechanicsburg, PA where I am a student at Messiah College. I am pursuing my Bachelor's degree in English with a Minor in Human Development and Family Science, and I am about to enter my final semester of my senior year this upcoming February.
Messiah College has been a truly amazing and awesome place for me these past three and a half years. It has been what I've grown to call home and a place full of opportunities, blessings, and transformation, both expected and unexpected. I'll sum it up in this way: the past three and a half years are years my imagination aren't adequate enough to craft.
I've had the opportunity to serve in an organization that's all about engaging culture in a critical and challenging way through the lens of a biblical worldview. For me, it was serving by leading and executing large scale concerts and other events that crafted an open space to allow critical cultural engagement. I've had the opportunity to work extensivelty in the Admission's Office, helping rising collge students get through the college searching process. Especially with students of underrepresented backgrounds, showing them the resources and methods avaiable for them, reviving hope for them to claim a degree.
I've had the opportunity to explore myself as an artist and orator. From performing as a spoken word artist and DJ, to presenting at conferences, teaching in classrooms, and speaking at multiple events of various audiences. I've had the opportunity to develop substantially as an academic, writing and presenting papers and projects I'm proud to have written and argued, simultaneously sharpening my critical thinking.
These opportunities have blessed me with three possible job opportunities after I graduate! I am thankful because these will allow me to continue to serve in my God-given passions and callings. Leading, influencing, and mentoring students into life after high school, going to college, and/or blessing their communities. Fostering and crafting open spaces for critical dialogue of culture and social justice through multiple outlets. Continuing to develop the skills in the arts I've been blessed with to bless others. If it weren't for the hollistic transformation and development I've also had in my faith and understanding of Christ and who I am in Him, none of this would've happened.
I'm also the first and only of four to have gone to college. I am a son to immigrants from the Dominican Republic. With that, fiancial struggle was no stranger to our household, especially after my mother passed away a few years ago. The significance of all of this is more than self gain. It is honoring the sacrifices made for me to be here. Going to college was not possible financially for my family, so I had to think creatively. I made the decision to do all that I can to have the financial burdens of tuition and costs not fall onto their shoulders. For the past three and a half years, I've done just that. As of now, paying back for school is all on me, none on them. That has been hard. It isn't easy for a college student to do that, let alone a student at a private institution. Yet, I've done it. I'm not bragging when I say that because I know it is all under God's grace I've been able to.
However, this year was different. Due to unforeseen issues that arose, I didn't have enough to come back for the final semester. I can't take out any more federal loans, grants, or scholarships. I can not take out any private loans of any kind. Even though I have none, certain factors restrict me from being allowed to take them out. With Messiah's grace and kindness, we've worked together to get a little more aid and get me to register for classes. Yet, I don't have enough to fully pay off my balance, which prohibit me from leaving with my degree and official transcripts that I need for jobs, and they are time sensitive.
I've worked hard to find alternatives and any other options...and I'm out of them. Believe me, I looked, and I'm working hard to keep looking. My family, well, my brother and father, can't put anything in. Messiah has done all they can. This has been hard because I am so close to the end and have worked and sacrificed a lot to see only a few thousand is stopping me.
I've worked so hard and done my best to stay in college, and it isn't enough now. So it is hard for me to do this if I can be honest. However, I come to you with knees on the ground, and hands high in the air...to humbly ask for your help. If that's financially...thank you. It doens't matter the amount, because anything helps. If you can not, believe me, I understand. If you could share this campaign, the video, my story, throughout any or all social media outlets...thank you. I am grateful for anything you are willing to do.
As somber as this all is, I still have a smile on my face because I am so blessed, and will continue to be no matter what. Yet, God has brought me so far and done so much work in me, that it doesn't seem likely He will allow me to quit as I'm a few seconds away from the finish. Even if THAT does happen, I will be content and keep working.
Thank you again. God Bless.
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