This is a story of a girl who displayed incredible perseverance, courage, and strength, as she navigated her way through adolescence and into adulthood. That brave woman has now created a scholarship fund in an effort to give back to her community while supporting girls who face similar challenges that she faced as a young woman. That Scholarship Fund is the “I Am Worth It” Foundation!
Jennifer Payne is now a 38-year-old successful mother of two, however growing up, she experienced numerous circumstances that classified her as an at-risk youth.
Growing up, Jennifer experienced several challenging situations including trauma, neglect, divorce, isolation, bullying, along with sexual and emotional abuse. These experiences resulted in her battling low self-esteem, self-injury, depression, and major anxiety.
Even though Jennifer had every reason to be bitter, angry, and resentful towards her painful reality, she discovered an opportunity that forever changed her trajectory. That opportunity was enrolling in college, to ensure that she would have the building blocks and foundation to set herself up for a better future.
Upon making the decision to enroll in school, Jennifer faced a major obstacle in the cost of higher education. Jennifer had moved out of her mother’s home at the age of 17 while supporting herself on a minimum wage job. Unfortunately, due to bureaucratic financial aid policies, she was required to consider her parent’s income in the assistance qualification process. As a result, she discovered she did not qualify for any financial aid. Her dream of higher education seemed impossible due to the expenses associated with living independently and attending college.
For most degree programs working a full-time job and attending school full-time is nearly impossible logistically. Fortunately for Jennifer, she was able to secure some alternative financial assistance, which was a major turning point in her life and vital in her successfully completing her degree, while living and supporting herself independently.
“I am Worth it” believes finances should never be an obstacle to higher education for at-risk youth. Our goal is to prevent young women from having to decide between surviving their current at-risk environments and their future success via higher education. We will achieve this, by awarding scholarship funds to qualifying young girls in Raleigh, NC.