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Growing up, we lived in a house with my grandmother and all her kids—my aunts and uncles. It was rough, it was so rough. I don't wish that on any kid. I can laugh at it now, but… They were young, my mom and my aunts, you know, they were young when they had us. So, they were still, like, partying and having their friends come over and hang out. It was a lot going on at our house.
I don't know how I got selected for the I Have a Dream program. But, we used to have so much fun, our little group. We used to go in these big, fancy buildings—I don't know if they were hotel banquets—and eat this nice food. We was just loving it! And then they had trips, camping trips, we went to colleges; we used to go a lot of places. Where I grew up, we don't do stuff like that, so it was really exciting and fun.
And we stayed with Mrs. Rumbarger. We used to go to her house. Yeah, she used to come get a few of us, and we used to help her cook. Yes. I remember that. It was fun. It was fun. We really looked up to Mrs. Rumbarger and Mr. Bumbaugh. Because kids really do look up to mentors if they’re not getting it at home, you know? My cousin was in the program, too—Tyrone Anderson. Well, we called him Manman. Manman was always with Mrs. Rumbarger. And another cousin, James Taylor, J.J. But, you know, he got killed recently. I got to say about 2005, maybe.
I tried so hard to stay in school. I went all the way up to the 11th grade. But, I needed support. I was hungry. I didn't have money to eat. I was, like: I got to get a job. I’m old enough now. I can't keep going to school starving. I didn't have proper clothes to wear—I wanted new clothes on the first day of school, like everybody else. So, I found a job at a fast food restaurant. And I moved in with my cousin in Maryland, where my job was. And I tried to go to work and do GED at night. Because the I Have a Dream program told us as long as we graduated, they would fund us for college. I wanted to go to college. I kept telling myself that I was. The GED class was at Ballou High School. But it was just a long commute back and forth, and, you know, it wasn't safe. And actually I got pregnant when I was working, and I had my daughter. So, I didn't get funded for the I Have a Dream program. But I did eventually get my GED. And this was, like, 2008. I was so happy. I was like, now I can go to college and I can further my education.
And I've just finished school in the health care field—and just got a job as a medical assistant. I'm excited. I thought about health care so many times. But I basically doubted myself. And then, lately, I just keep hearing this voice, you know what I'm saying? It comes so natural when I'm doing it at work. So, I'm like, Okay, I think this is my purpose. And I want to go back to school this year for nursing, for my RN. I want to get it out of the way before I'm 40! I want to get all my certifications, my nursing degree. And then, I'll leave my other job working security. When I finish school completely, then I'll be really, really excited and comfortable. I think once I finish school completely, I'll feel stable.