Changing the world one step at a time

Scholarship Entrant: jalisa from minneapolis, Minnesota
Essay Question: If you could earn a living doing what you love most, what would it be, and how would it change the world? Describe the specific goals you would set to make that dream a reality.
Vote for jalisa: 0

Ja’Lisa Calaway-Bailey
Social Work Application
Being a social work means more than just helping people out when they are in need, its about
being their for that person or family when they are down and out and have no one to turn to, you might
be all that they have to lean on. I’m interested in becoming a victim’s advocate, whether it is an on-call
position or a standard 9-5.
I chose to become a victim’s advocate because it hits close to home for me. When I was seven
years old my mom went to a vacation to Mexico and fell in love with a man named Maurice Jones. He
lived in Memphis, Tennessee and that’s where we relocated to start a new family with him and his 5
daughters, just after 2 short months of them knowing each other and having this long distance
relationship. From ages seven up until age fourteen my step father molested me in the comfort of our
own home.When confessing this to my mother, the police assigned me an advocate. Her name was
Miss. April. She made me feel “okay”, if you will, about the situation. She had explained to me that it
wasn’t my fault and sadly these sorts of things happen often, especially to girls my age and the attacker
is often someone the child trusts.
I would like to get a chance to work in the public school systems as well. We see so many
children acting out in the classrooms and getting punished for it without giving them that one on one
attention. Children seem to act out because it’s often a silent cry for help. Now I’m not saying every
child is being molested or being beating at home but often if you take the time to actually sit down with
the child you can often get to the bottom of things. I not only want to work with children but I would
love to work with battered women and men. It’s not easy for a mother to find out her child was being
molested by the one she/he called father, so she could use some guidance or someone to talk to. In situations where one type of abuse is being taken inside the home, there are more. My mother was
being physically and mentally abused which sidetracked her seeing signs of my abuse.
Growing up in an urban area I would like to give back to my community. I want to be able to
help as many people as possible in this life time. Often the children who live in urban areas aren’t
getting that one on one attention from the adults in their life and it’s simple because of the poverty
levels being so high. Families are struggling to pay bills and get food on the table instead of sitting down
with their children and just simply asking, “How was your day?” .The children that grow up in urban
areas are often the ones who end up committing crimes later in life just to make a statement when it
could of all been hashed out at a young age if someone would of just given them the opportunity for be
voiced. Because I’ve actually been threw a situation which involved a social worker helping me from day
one I know how it feels to have someone be on your side the whole time and want to see you do better.
Its one thing to hear someone’s story and feel sorrow but it’s another to have actually lived it.
While living in Memphis I wasn’t able to do many youth programs but as soon as I moved back
to Minnesota there was so many programs coming to my school trying to get everyone involved and I
jumped at every chance I got. The two major programs that I’m still involved with nonprofit
organizations Project Success and YouthCare. Both are programs that I can say shaped me as a person.
They are very diverse and gave me an opportunity to learn more about different cultures. For example, I
wasn’t aware that “all Asians weren’t Asian “, sounds every weird huh? I was very uneducated about the
different cultures such as Laos and Hmong. I’m thankful that I was given an opportunity threw these
programs to make friends with people from these different culture and they could teach me. Culture is
very important to me especially now that I’m older and this is the field I want to go in. Minnesota is the
perfect place to become a social worker for the simple fact that you do get to work with so many different backgrounds and cultures. But at the end of the day, everyone is person and everyone has
feelings and no one should feel unsafe and not be heard.

Vote for jalisa: 0

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