Meet Davallen ’22. Despite her academic excellence in school and selfless volunteerism at church, the large-scale health and wealth disparity facing her Appalachian hometown of Williamsburg, Kentucky, had taken root in Davallen’shome, threatening her education and wellness. Eventually, during her junior year of high school, Davallen had to make a choice few children ever face: she left her childhood home to find the stability every teenager deserves.
“I don’t think most people understand the impact addiction has on a child. There was a lot of arguing and uncertainty at home, and that was a big challenge for me,” Davallen said.
Fortunately, a good Samaritan stepped up when Davallen needed her the most. When Davallen’s church family learned of her situation, a member named Stephanie welcomed Davallen into her home with open arms. The two had already bonded through their years of volunteering in their community, and now Stephanie became like a second mother to Davallen. “I even got to be a big sister to Stephanie’s little girl—basically a role model,” she said.
They found joy in each other’s company, and Davallen’s future became a little clearer when they both discovered Berea College. As soon as Stephanie could spare a day off work, the two of them headed to campus for a tour, thinking everything Berea College offered was too good to be true. But upon seeing the College up close and meeting her future classmates and mentors, Davallen said, “I just knew this was going to be my home.”
Now, as a Child and Family Studies major, Davallen has chosen to confront the issues facing her family and community by learning about the economic and societal forces behind drug addiction, systemic poverty, and job insecurity in her region. With her Berea degree, Davallen plans to work with children in foster care to give them the same vital support Stephanie and Berea College offered her in her times of need.
In addition to fostering the talent and devotion of students like Davallen, your gifts to Berea College set a powerful example. Davallen pays your generosity forward by donating a portion of her student labor paychecks back to the College because, in her words, “Berea is like nowhere else on Earth, and more people still need it. Even if it’s a small amount, I know it still helps.”