Sumaiyya's Education Fund

Hello family and friends. My name is Sumaiyya Taymura Stephens. I am a 19 year old graduate of Princeton High school (Class of 2016) and current student at La Salle University (Class of 2020). I am a communication major, planning to declare a minor in business this coming semsester. 
     As we all know, college can be very expensive and paying for it is something many people struggle with. In order for me to be able to return this semester, I need to come up with a balance of $9,632.11 by January 14th, 2018 (I'd like to raise extra for books and for my junior year). I understand that this is last minute, but at this point I am out of options and at a loss. My mother, who is a single parent is unable to come up with this kind of money. She is employed, but not in the capacity to be able to help me. Not only that, she is un-able to get approved for any type of loan. I've tried to get approved for loans myself but do not have anyone else to co-sign for me.  I come from a town (Princeton, NJ) where as an African American, people don't expect much from you. Back in high school, I received a very good grade on a test and I remember a student saying to me "Sumaiyya, how did you get that? Thats not fair." My whole life I've been presented with narratives about African Americans, women in particular. These narratives include stereotypes about black women as single mothers, uneducated, financially unstable, and unsuccessful. My ultimate goal in life is to provide a counter narrative for myself and other black women I know, as well as providing a voice for those in America who do not have one. As stated, my name is Sumaiyya. It’s been my dream since I was younger to have my own talk show. My name means “of high reputation” in Swahili and I strive to live up to this. Everywhere I go, I am known for my desire to be an active part of my community and my interest in learning other people's perspectives. In high school, I was apart of various organizations; Teen PEP (Teen Prevention Education Program), Peer Group, and various outreach programs through Corner House. From middle school to date, I have been an active member of Committed & Faithful Princetonians with Fern and Larry Spruill. They are a big part of the reason I was able to make it this far in my life, I will forever be indebted to them.  Not only did Committed & Faithful keep me out of trouble as a youth, but it provided a safe space for me to voice my opinions and be the outspoken individual I am and later become a role model for the younger memebers. They always taught me "If you can't make it in Princeton, you can't make it anywhere".  In addition, I was a student athlete and basketball manager for 4 years. I am also a two-time receiver of the Not In Our Town Leadership award for my strides to help make a difference and my willingness to speak out against social injustices/racism in the Princeton Community. I was even featured in The Classroom Index by Princeton CHOOSE. To continue my efforts in activism, I became a member of the African American Student League at school and I am currently working on my own project. 
     As you can see, I am on a quest for new opportunities and to further my knowledge. La Salle University along with the general Philadelphia area will help to steer me in the direction I would like to go in life. I have made it this far and refuse to be stopped; failure is not an option. With that being said, I am politely asking for your assistance. Any donation will be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for your time.
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Organizer

Taymura Stephens 
Organizer
Princeton, NJ
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