It was late Spring of 2014 when Princess Dickens, a gifted Rollins College senior, learned she had been named a Fulbright scholar to Germany.
For four years, she had roamed the halls largely invisible--a true feat on a campus that prides itself on having a small student body, and for a woman with such an unforgettable name. But suddenly, it seemed like Princess' name was everywhere: on the college Public Relations webpage, highlighted at the senior awards ceremony, even written in large bold letters on lawn signs erected throughout the scenic campus. In truth, seven other Rollins seniors had received the same news that day. But unlike the rest, Princess knew this was her one shot at having a real future. Which is why that same Spring day felt like the worst day of her life.
When Princess' father died, she stepped into his shoes. She was only fourteen. Her mother, who is intellectually disabled and long-suffering from mental illness, was unable to care for her four children, some of whom have special needs. So Princess went to work: she first sold flowers on the side of the highway, then flipped signs on street corners, until she finally got a job at McDonald's at age sixteen. Soon, she convinced the manager to hire her three brothers. And with that, they just barely managed to survive. Yet, by the end of high school, Princess had achieved what no one would have thought possible: she graduated at the top of her class and was accepted to Rollins College, her local school, with numerous scholarships to defray the private tuition. And it was at Rollins that Princess discovered her passion for languages. Today she is fluent in German and Spanish, and is teaching herself several other languages for fun. Earlier this year, she graduated from Rollins Summa Cum Laude, and with the highest GPA in the Modern Languages Department. All while working two to three jobs. And caring for a family of five with multiple health and developmental issues.
But Princess saw no possible way she could accept the Fulbright Scholarship and leave home to continue her education and, by doing so, help bring her family out of poverty once and for all. The Dickens' had long ago fallen through the cracks of the American social safety net. They are not currently receiving any public benefits. So Princess saw no way the mortgage could be paid, no way her mother could receive the care she needed, and no way for her family to pay for food each month if her income and her leadership up and left for Germany. It seemed impossible.
Until now. By helping Princess help her family, you will play a part in giving this amazing and persevering young woman the future she deserves. Your gifts will ensure that Princess has a "worry free" year, while she focuses on her opportunity in Germany.
A team of community leaders are already working on a host of additional issues, including access to medical care for the whole family, and benefit claims. Please contact Fay O. Pappas, Esq. of Bailey Fisher, PLLC., through this site or www.baileyfisherlaw.com if you'd like to know how else you can become involved in "The Princess Dickens Project." However, these efforts will take time, perhaps years, and only immediate funding will prevent her from losing this opportunity without your help.
The Fulbright Scholarship is a once in a lifetime catalyst that will propel Princess into a top American graduate school upon her return. With your help, Princess can and will contribute great things to our world.
Today, this young woman's life is at a crossroads. And the clock is ticking. She is set to depart for Germany this August.
Please consider giving all that you can. And allow Princess to accept this opportunity by helping her help her family.
The Team Members of “The Princess Dickens Project”
DonationsSee top donations
- Richard Cuellar
- Christelle Scharff
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