2017 Scholar Spotlight: Corryn B.

Corryn B.

“All my life, I have visualized success. As a child, success was living in a mansion with six cars. Today, I visualize success as…working in a job that I love, with a supportive family. Someday I hope to make an impact on the lives of young children the way that many of my teachers supported and impacted mine while growing up.” – Corryn B.

Although 2017 Scholarship Awardee Corryn B. was adopted by a loving set of grandparents at the age of ten, a multitude of traumatic experiences beforehand and several years of being moved from one foster home to the next made for a very difficult transition. Because the majority of her young childhood was spent playing the role of full-time parent to her five younger siblings, all matters related to her education were of secondary concern. “I was clueless,” she recalls. “I really hadn’t learned anything before sixth grade, because my focus was on taking care of my siblings. No one had ever shown interest in my education before my grandparents.”

Years of remedial tutoring and attentive educational coaching put Corryn back on track academically, but she still wasn’t spared the pain of social isolation that came with an inability to connect with other children. “I was terribly lonely,” she writes of that time. “I had no one to turn to, until one day a teacher…asked me to walk with her to her classroom, because she noticed that I always sat alone. After that morning, I finally felt I had somebody. I would go to her classroom any chance I could, because she was always open to listening and giving me advice. I found at least one teacher like this at every school I attended.”

These newfound, supportive connections spurred on her confidence, and over time she began to make friends, shift more and more of her focus to her education, and volunteer for local outreach organizations. Led by an uncompromising will to succeed in the face of adversity, Corryn graduated from high school at the top of her class with a 4.0 GPA after having spent seven consecutive semesters on the Honor Roll. Our first Rezvan Foundation Scholarship Awardee, she is now a sophomore at Fresno State University studying Education. “I have transformed into a strong, independent young lady,” she shares with pride. “I want to be the teacher that students can depend on when they have no one. I will make an impact.”

2018 Scholar Spotlight: Leilah D.

Leilah D.

“‘Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is your strength,’ said Gandhi, and my strength came from embracing my journey as a foster youth, instead of being ashamed or succumbing to its connotation…I am breaking the cycle.” – Leilah D.

Characterized as “mature beyond her years” by teachers, advisors, and Rezvan Foundation Board members alike, 2018 Rezvan Foundation Scholarship Awardee Leilah D. graduated from high school with a 4.1 GPA and an unstoppable drive to be a motivating force to other students in the foster care system.

Although an unsafe and unreliable family unit meant that many of her childhood years were spent parenting her younger sister while being moved from one foster home to the next, Leilah decided early on that the best use of her focus in an otherwise difficult upbringing, was school.

“My childhood was not made up of the best experiences,” Leilah shared, “but education was my escape, and it soon became my strength….my motivation to keep on living and experiencing life…I value learning and using knowledge to become a better human.”

Leilah maintained a significantly active role in high school by participating in clubs, leadership organizations, competitions, community service and being on the Principal’s Honor Roll, and became known for her dedication, determination, and ability to focus.

The first person to go to a four-year University in her family, Leilah attends The University of California at Davis. In addition to working diligently towards a professional career as a Graphic Designer, Leilah intends to start a year-round mentorship program for foster youth and teens, so that they will always have someone there to cheer them on throughout their own development.

“It is difficult to find the motivation and encouragement to push yourself through life the way I did,” says Leilah, “but I did it, and continue to push for more opportunities and successes.”

2018 Scholar Spotlight: Eunice M.

“I am an original. Despite struggling in dozens of homes, I succeeded in school. Despite the obstacles of foster care, I became a community leader, helping others in the system to find mentors and families. Despite society labeling me, I broke free of stereotypes and will have a successful life. I am a re-creation.” – Eunice Medina

Having lived in twenty-seven different foster homes and attended eighteen different schools by the time she and her adopted mother made a connection when she was eleven, 2018 Rezvan Foundation Scholarship Awardee Eunice M. is a shining example of resilience.

Labeled “unadoptable” at an early age by social workers within the foster care system, Eunice ultimately chose to put all of her energy into overcoming multiple years of trauma and instability by devoting herself to her educational and personal development.

This meant volunteering and holding important positions in organizations for foster youth, the elderly, and even shelter animals – all while serving on student government, playing on her high school volleyball team, and keeping up with a rigorous academic schedule.

As the second member of her birth family to graduate from high school and the first family member to go to college, Eunice is celebrating two major academic milestones.

Eunice graduated from high school at the top of the Honor Roll a semester early. As one of her advisors stated to The Rezvan Foundation, “While other youths may transcend the difficult but less unusual challenges of childhood, such as divorce, bullying or learning disabilities, Eunice has transcended the unimaginable…for someone who has endured Eunice’s early years, these achievements are astonishing.”

True to her reputation as a loving, empathetic person deeply motivated to help others, Eunice majors in Social Justice at Ohio Wesleyan University so that she can become an attorney to represent foster youth. “I will be a new type of advocate,” says Eunice. “It is almost impossible for kids to self-advocate from a place where they are controlled and have no power…I will empower my clients to take good paths and make good choices. I will share my experience with my clients and inspire them to beat the odds, too…I want to change the negative expectations that keep foster youth down. I want to someday help create other originals, like me.”