Your generous support of CBU is what helps make the dreams of amazing students like Samantha come true. Please send your best gift to the CBU Scholarship Fund so we can help students like Samantha come to CBU. Read Samantha's story and her note of thanks below.
"Mom was out of prison when my grandparents took me bowling on my eleventh birthday. She'd promised to come. I kept looking at the clock all day, but mom never showed up."
Those are the recollections of Samantha. She explained: "My mother has been in-and-out
of prison since I was two-years-old. And I've never really known my dad."
That afternoon in the bowling alley when Samantha was broken-hearted because mom had failed her again, her grandpa said: "You can either choose to let this affect you, or you can make your birthday fun in-spite-of-it."
Living an in-spite-of-it life was the norm for Samantha, growing up in St. Louis.
"But," she says, "my great grandparents were two people in my life who actually followed
through with their faith. And that was a really huge thing for me. They'd give me
money to put in the church offering plate and we'd talk about things when we got home."
Describing home, Samantha remembers: "With five kids it was always crazy . . . one bathroom . . . only two actual bedrooms. So we kind of turned other rooms into bedrooms. We’d get one pair of shoes for a few years and you'd just try to make them last as long as you could. We'd wear our shoes till the duct tape wore out and we couldn't fix them anymore."
Samantha tested into a gifted program at a special school where she was challenged by teachers to focus on academics. "It set my goals straight and I followed a separate path from my brother and sister. I was the only one of us to graduate from high school."
Samantha said: "Had I gone to a normal public school I probably would have ended up like the rest of my family. My siblings got their GEDs, had a lot of children at a young age, my brother went to jail, and my sister was suicidal. But God led me to the right place."
Samantha came across California Baptist University while looking online for Christian schools with Forensic Psychology programs. She told her uncle: "I’m going to CBU." Quite a step of faith. Samantha had no income, no college savings, and didn't even have a chance to visit campus before moving here. Here's how she describes her faith journey to CBU . . .
"It was the first time going anywhere I literally didn't know anybody. But my biggest concern was always just the money. I'm a very frugal person, so it was hard for me to make the choice, because I had some pretty good offers from state schools where I wouldn't have to pay much at all. But I just knew this is where I was supposed to be. It sounds silly, but I just couldn't justify going to a state school even though it would have been so much cheaper."
Samantha is double-majoring in Psychology and Theater. But she manages to get all "As" while working on campus in the student Recreation Center. She has some student loans. But she wouldn't be at CBU apart from the scholarship support she receives.
Samantha's Future Plans
A Personal Word from Samantha, Class of 2015
Many people in prisons, like my mother, are beautiful people who need help. I really want to work as a prison psychologist, using drama therapy to help them. I feel if I can help just one inmate who has children get out of prison and stay out, and really turn their life around . . . that would be worth everything.
In spite of all the loans I’m taking out, I know this is where I'm supposed to be and I know God is going to use me. God wouldn’t allow me to be at CBU if I wasn’t supposed to be here. So when I get stressed out about finances or anything like that I just think:
God will help me, He will provide when I need something, I'll be able to make it through.
And part of God's answer to my faith has been the generous giving of CBU's donors.
I am so grateful for the generosity that has made it possible for me to receive a scholarship from CBU. I am hoping to earn a doctorate so I can help people like my mom. That means I have many more years of faith and work ahead, but God will be holding my hand all the way.
With deep gratitude,