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Family Receives Support and HOPE From Edison Community College

Despite hardships, mother knows education is the key to success

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Dr. Kenneth Walker with Gold Love and her family. From left to right: (back row) Ijeoma, 12; Ifeanyi, 11; Ego, 9; (front row) Onyebuchi, 10: Chieme, 7.

Gold Love will be able to see the promise of a great education for her children thanks to Edison Community College President Dr. Kenneth Walker. Love and her family escaped an abusive relationship in Nigeria eight years ago to come to the United States of America, the land of opportunity.

"Gold Love is an example of a person who perseveres despite the odds," said Dr. Walker. "Her strong convictions and desire to put her family first made her story an inspiration."

Love, a 40-year old mother with five children, is overcoming the cycle of poverty. The family lives in east Fort Myers in a one flat house fenced in and scarred from multiple break-ins. They live off the charity of friends, her church and her sister's aid. Love, a medical coder, was laid off from her job a few weeks ago.

Despite the hardships, she instills in her children a desire to be the best they can be regardless of their circumstances. The children are all straight A or honors students and all have dreams of going on to college.

Love's children, surnamed Ekenta, range in ages from seven to 12. Ijeoma, 12, writes songs and sings to entertain her siblings. The family sings, laughs, and studies together.

"My mom makes us do our homework before we do anything else," said Ego, 9. "She reads to us and reminds us that education is the key to a better future."

Dr. Walker was moved by the Love story and felt her family deserved HOPE scholarships to ensure their future educational goals could be met.

The HOPE (Help One Person Excel) Scholarship started in 1993 and is sponsored by Edison Community College. The scholarship pays for books and tuition for students who may not have the financial resources available to pay for them. The HOPE Scholarship is designed for students whose parents did not graduate from college, or whose personal circumstances place them at risk for attending college. The scholarship enables them to attend Edison Community College and get the support they need to be successful.

Gold Love's children received their HOPE scholarships last summer in a ceremony attended by teachers and staff from Edison Community College.

Love excitedly thanked the College for its generosity. "In my heart, I knew we would make it because I hoped," she said. "I love America. It is my home, because a home is where you are welcomed." For more information on Edison Community College, visit www.edison.edu.