My Godfather, Dr. Frank Verley, was a Jamaican geneticist. He came into my life when I was 8 years old. He was loving, gentle, kind, wise, and truth be told I wished he had been my biological father, but that’s another story. He not only guided me throughout my life, he also help guide my children and even took care of my youngest on occasion when I was working Hospice and got paged. I was devastated when he passed away, and worked hard to establish a scholarship fund in his name at Northern Michigan University where he had taught for years. After much fundraising we were still a couple thousand short and my mother was kind enough to just fully fund the scholarship from her own savings. That was about 5 years ago.
Yesterday, I received my first thank you note from a Frank Verley Scholarship Fund Recipient. It was from Mikayla, a young woman from another tiny town, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. She is graduating with a degree in biology and intends to attend medical school. Her brief note let me know she has already submitted her application to a couple of schools, and has always been a part of NMU’s pre-med club. It is a particularly good pre-med club with great support and personal interaction between professors and students so I am assuming she did well enough on her MCATs and had decent essays. Having participated in my daughter’s own medical school journey, I know what she is in for – a LOT of work. And a LOT of debt. Mikayla enjoys her studies and enjoys being a Resident Advisor. She indicated that the scholarship will help her focus on her studies and her job as an RA. She included a photo.
I had to just cry. I miss my “Uncle” Frank so much. I had wondered if the scholarship fund was ever going to earn enough to provide assistance to a deserving student. I think Frank would be happy. He encouraged my daughter, Cate to persevere. He suggested that she major in Cellular and Molecular Biology, which she did. He was my rock, and her rock, and we all loved him beyond measure. And now, another young woman will be encouraged to and assisted with attending medical school with assistance from Dr. Frank Verley. I am SO grateful to have been instrumental in making this happen.
A very talented, altruistic woman from my little home town has been making her mark on the city of Detroit, by starting a non-profit that teaches disadvantaged kids from the inner city to play the violin. I have been contributing what I can do her organization since I found out about it. Instead of buying presents, a great holiday idea is to contribute to a charity that either speaks to your heart or to that of the recipient. I urge you please, check out Detroit Youth Volume and, if you can, give them a little love either with a financial contribution, a post on your web page/FB/Twitter/Insta. Or both! You will not only feel gratitude, you’ll feel great!
Check them out here: http://www.detroityouthvolume.org/