2019 Next Step Scholarship Recipients
As a “tween,” Rachael had to learn the hard way that poor choices and harsh words can cause long-term damage to cherished friendships. After conceding to Mob Mentality, Rachael witnessed its impact on a dear friend and her family. Rather than move on and seek other friends, Rachael swallowed the bitter pill, owned up to her past mistakes and began rebuilding an important relationship. Although military life took her family to a new town in a new state across the country, her friendship remains steadfast. And, Rachael continues to pull from this life lesson for the benefit of others.
After becoming a mom at an early age, Autumn used her past vulnerability to validate others that are going through the same experience. Seeking young women out via social media has allowed her to help in ways that she was once helped. Autumn leads with empathy, kindness, and encouragement in order to pay it forward. “If they just want to talk, we talk. If they want advice, I share what worked for me. If they want to connect with resources, I tell them without judgment, of all the programs and assistance that I am aware of. If they are down and disheartened believing the road ahead is bleak, that the negative outcomes associated with teenage moms is now their fate, I say: ‘Don’t believe the hype! And don’t give up.’”