Repaying student loan debt

$150 of $3,600 goal

Raised by 3 people in 17 days

Hello I am JJ ODonnell.   

Four years ago, after years of dealing with depression, I went to the VA to see what I qualified for as a Vet.  They helped me to get my mind thinking in a healthier ways and to stop dwelling on the things I cannot, change in the past.  And to start creating goals, then focusing on what I can do to make those goals a reality.  I applied for Vocational Rehabilitation through the VA.  They approved me for study to become a Social Studies Teacher.  So, this is how the current chapter in my life began.  Since then I have accomplished a lot.  I was on the honor roll or the Dean’s list most of the time I was at Normandale.  I made it in to Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society.  I was awarded TRIO Scholar of the year for 2016-2017.  I was part of America Reads and Counts, which helps tutor kids in math and reading.  I took part in a few trips with the Cultural Exploration and Travel club, because I like learning about other cultures and travel.  I worked at both the Diversity Center and the Student Store.  I was awarded a scholarship from the Normandale Foundation, in which I returned the favor by giving a speech about my life and experience which brought me to Normandale.   I also, Graduated with honors from Normandale.


Current Occupation:

I am currently working as a Substitute Educational Paraprofessional for the Burnsville/Eagan/Savage school district.  Currently, working with special needs kids as a long-term Sub.  This is no easy task dealing with all sorts of issues, most notably behavioral issues.  This job is not for the faint of heart and takes a special type of person to stick it out through the rough parts and see the accomplishments these kids make.  There have been times where I just wanted to through in the towel, but I stay because I love to see their faces when the kids do something that they, thought they could not do.  I try to help inspire the kids with my story and what I have accomplished over the past few years despite my fight with Depression. 

Life Goals:

My overall goal is to get my Teaching degree and join the Peace Corp.  Then, bring what I have learned from the Corp about the other cultures I worked with to the classroom.  It is my belief that the more we know about other cultures the less we fear them and provide a start to a lasting peace in this world.

Why I am on here:

I am currently raising money to pay off some student loan debt, so that I can continue my education.  I have recently graduated from Normandale Community College with an Associates of Arts degree.  Now I am stuck with a dilemma because this was my third attempt at getting a degree I have some outstanding debt from previous attempts.  I have defaulted on these loans and need to pay one of them off before I can continue on with schooling.   The first two times I went to school I my living was not stable, I did not know that I had any veteran’s benefits, I had no in school support system helping me through the way student loans worked or how to get grants and scholarships.  The reason for me to do the crowdfunding is so I can pay off a loan from the state of Minnesota that way Normandale can release my records to Metro State University, where I will go for my BA in Social Studies Education. 


How Much and When:

I need to raise the money by no later than August 31 in order for me to enter back into school by spring of 2019.


I will be doing weekly shout out videos for all my donors.

Every $500 raised I will do a live stream where people can ask me questions about anything.
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Today I had a great interview with Pumpkin Patch. All I need to do is email my transcript and references to them and I should have the job. I am looking for work for the summer because the school year is out. I already have a job starting in July as an Educational Paraprofessional for the summer program in district 191. This is thank to the teachers I worked with recommending me . This makes me so happy to know I am making a difference in this world.
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Here is a link to my most recent blog post. Please read if you or someone you know is dealing with depression.
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This is my graduation picture
Normandale Veterans Graduate
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Today is only the beginning of my campaign. I will be working on this as much as possible to ensure that I make to my goal.
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$150 of $3,600 goal

Raised by 3 people in 17 days
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Joy Kamano
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