My Story - Naomi Brickey
The first time her husband shoved her, she was in shock. She knew in her heart that it wasn’t right. Each time, their subsequent arguments escalated. From him assaulting her emotionally, physically or otherwise, she felt more and more hurt, helpless, and heartbroken. She became progressively desensitized to how wrong this treatment was and felt that it was her fault. Her self-worth plummeted and she slipped into survival mode. The sparkle in her eye had dimmed, and the fire in her heart had nearly been put out. She worked hard to paint a smile on her face while in public and around her loved ones. However, when she was home, her resolve often faded. There were times when she locked herself in the bathroom so she could cry without her child seeing her. She didn’t realize what was happening to her at the time; it was simply how her life was and she accepted it.
When he finally moved out, she felt he had damaged her beyond repair. She was devastated that her marriage had fallen to pieces. She had looked forward to marriage all her life. As time away from her abuser grew and grew, the shock of what she had just endured settled in. She knew she made mistakes, however, she had been treated in a way that she did not deserve. Her recovery was slow at first, but after a few months she caught herself smiling while driving in her car, for no reason at all. She began to cry as she recognized that it had been a long time since she had genuinely smiled just for the heck of it.
It wasn’t long after her awakening that her desire to help other women, who have been through similar situations, grew. For that reason, she has chosen to go into the legal field of study. Her desire is that the knowledge she gains through her studies will enable her to bring hope and smiles back into the lives of other women who have been abused.
My Story – Tatiana Chavez
Tatiana Chavez, moved from Peru at the age of 14. Upon arriving she was enrolled as an eighth grade student but didn’t know any english. She had to work hard to learn how to speak and communicate her feelings through a foreign language. However, she feels blessed to be living the American Dream, knowing that through hard work, dreams can come true. She is now 25 years old and a mother of a beautiful 7 year old daughter.
Tatiana graduated from high school with a high GPA and while pregnant with her daughter. Post high school she knew life would be difficult due to her situation but decided to stay focused on the positive side of things. She knows that she has a beautiful daughter that pushes her and inspires her to accomplish hard things.
Through hard work, Tatiana graduated from Weber State University with a Bachelors of Science in Health Administrative Services. Through her hard work, she achieved several awards, namely; Dr. William E. Smith, Award of Excellence for Excellence in scholarship, Departmental Honors Certificate, and more.
Currently, Tatiana is working on obtaining her Master’s degree in Health Administration. Five years from now she wants to be independent, providing a home for her and her daughter. She is an example for her daughter and single mothers everywhere, that they can do anything.
We are so grateful for Tatiana and her example she is to her daughter and single mothers. We commend her for her positive energy and optimistic outlook on life.
My Story – Tera Ettinger
Tera Ettinger, was born into a home under poor circumstances. A brief overview of her past will give you an understanding about her challenges. She has personally been touched by alcoholic parents, sexually abused, lost her father at age eight, date raped (which resulted in teenage motherhood), the tragic loss of three cousins in a train accident, addiction and an abusive marriage. Tera says, “The irony of these challenges have become my greatest gift, without which I would not have had desperation or willingness to seek for something better.”
Tera seeks support through meetings and sponsorship; focuses on physical well-being with daily exercise, proper nutrition, and getting sufficient rest. Tera is a new person with strengths and talents that were hidden; her heart is full of gratitude and she is willing to work hard to better her life and the lives of her children. Tera is 3 years sober and is excited for her future. This Fall she will begin the dual enrollment program of the Bachelor of Social Work and Advanced Substance Use Disorder Counselor.
Following her graduation she plans to pursue a Masters of Social Work at Brigham Young University. Her ultimate goal is to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Courageously, Tera has lofty career goals to open a drug treatment counseling center for women and their children.
We are so grateful for Tera and all her hard work and dedication. We commend her and her ability to accomplish hard things.
My Story – Alyson Wyatt
Alyson is one of the Live your Dream scholarship recipients for this coming, 2014 fall semester. She is an amazing woman that is following her dreams to provide for both her, and her son. Despite the heartache of her husbands death, she continues to be strong for her little family, taking it one minute at a time. She looks forward to the future that one day she will be self reliant.
Here is her story…
I met Cade Wyatt when we were both sophomores in high school. It wasn’t love at first sight because I didn’t know what that kind of love meant at fifteen years old, but I definitely knew that this ‘crush’ was different than others I’d had in the past. We began dating a few months after we turned sixteen and dated all through high school. One year after we graduated, Cade relocated to Peru to serve a two year mission for our church. I ‘waited’ for him and never dated another guy—I knew he was the one and didn’t want to waste my time or anyone else’s. On May 22, 2008, one week after my twenty second birthday, and one day after Cade’s twenty second birthday we were married in the Salt Lake City, LDS Temple. Even though it was a cold, rainy, soggy day, it was the happiest day of my life and one that I will cherish forever and never forget.
Cade and I had a couple of fun, blissful years together before we moved to Lincoln, Nebraska in July 2010 so Cade could attend Law School. He had a huge desire to be successful and provide for our family so I could be a stay at home mom. About five months after we moved Cade started having debilitating headaches. I would often wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of him vomiting because the pain was so intense, or find him in the darkest corner of our apartment with pillows surrounding his head so no light could seep through. After much convincing, I was finally able to get him to the doctor. We went through 2 weeks of CT’s, MRI’s, Optometrist visits, ER visits, Neurologist appointments, talks with a Neurosurgeon and a visit to the Radiologist when Cade was heartbreakingly diagnosed with a malignant Brain tumor (January 2011). Thankfully they misdiagnosed him in Lincoln. They wanted us to go to Omaha immediately for surgery—a surgery we later found out would have killed him. We got on a plane that day and flew back to Utah to be with our families and get surgery and treatment at the University of Utah Hospital and Huntsman Cancer Institute. After his first brain surgery in Utah we were told that it was a slow growing tumor that would need some sort of treatment about every 7 years. We were told that Cade had at least 40 or 50 more years ahead of him and to go home and live our lives.
Cade got a job as a Medical Device Sales Representative and I got a job as a dental assistant. Cade required one more brain surgery to adjust his already existing shunt and add a second one, but other than that, he was doing well. At that point, I felt a strong desire to start a family. Everyone, including Cade, thought I was crazy, but I knew it was the right thing to do. On December 3, 2011, our little boy Luke was born and we were both immediately in love. Cade had always wanted a boy. He was SO excited for his little buddy to hang out with and take hunting. During this time, Cade had done a session of radiation treatment, a few sessions of chemo pills, and when his tumor unexpectedly started to grow, infusion chemo.
About 6 months after Luke’s birth, Cade started to act different. He was being very forgetful and just not acting like himself. After yet another MRI, it was revealed that the tumor had taken a turn for the worse and was growing rapidly. Cade’s Oncologist told us there was nothing we could do and sent us home. Cade got on hospice later that week and rapidly declined. On the morning of August 26, 2012 when our baby boy was just 8 months old, Cade passed away in my arms.
To say that I miss him and that these past 20 months have been difficult is a major understatement. There just aren’t adequate enough words to describe how my life has changed. Luke and I moved in with my parents and I am now attending Utah State University at the Brigham City campus. I’m hoping to be a Dental Hygienist (which will require me to attend the program at Weber State University once I finish my pre-requisites at Utah State).
After Cade and I graduated from high school, I went to Utah State for one year, but quit to become a dental assistant. I’ve worked in a few different General Dentist offices, a Pediatric Dental office and an Oral and Maxillofacial office. The dental field is one that I feel very comfortable in and very passionate about. Being a Hygienist would not only be a good fit for myself and my son schedule wise, but it would provide a good life for the two of us while allowing me to do something that I love.
I’m hoping that in five years I will be graduated from the Dental Hygiene program and independent and financially stable enough to buy a home for Luke and myself. Cade and I loved to watch HGTV and dream of the home we would one day build together; I still want to make that a reality for me and Luke. As I said earlier, Cade had a huge desire to work hard and provide a good stable life for his family so I could be a stay at home mom. Well, obviously life happened, and since Cade is not longer here to do that for us, it is up to me to provide that life that he so badly wanted us to have. To say that our new life is abnormal is another understatement. Luke will never know his daddy and he is spending his childhood living without his dad at his grandparents home with his mom. While I am beyond thankful for my parents taking us in, I am craving my own space and my independence. I want to provide Luke with all the things and opportunities that all the other kids who have both parents here on earth get to experience. He is my drive and my motivation to succeed. When days get hard and I become overwhelmed with life and school, I remember why I started—because of him. He deserves a better life than the one he has been dealt and I want to do everything in my power to be successful and provide him with all the normalcy and happiness I can.