Rachel Ashley Reyes has experienced a lot of challenges in her young life but she won’t just go down without a fight and would try her best to hurdle every obstacle for the sake of her family. The 26-year-old is this year’s recipient of the Live Your Dream Award given by the Soroptimist International of the Northern Mariana Islands.
SINMI president and former CNMI attorney general Pam Brown announced Reyes as the recipient of the award in last Saturday’s event held at the Seaside Hall of the Kanoa Resort. CNMI Public School System student and Support Service associate commissioner Yvonne R. Pangelinan, who also became PSS’ acting education commissioner, was guest speaker.
The Live Your Dream award, now on its fourth year of supporting women on Saipan, is given to a woman who is attending college and is her family’s sole financial supporter.
She said that she uses her daughter and family to inspire her to keep going. “Sometimes I say to myself, ‘I need to keep on going.’ Other people also tell me that they don’t how could I do it and they don’t know how do I manage to keep on going. But then, I feel that, as single mothers like me, we don’t have a choice. We have to do it for our kids. I don’t give myself the choice of quitting. I have to work hard because it is not me that I’m trying to please or make happy, but my daughter and parents.”
She advises struggling single mothers and other women in the CNMI to always stay strong. “Just be strong and take advantage of all the resources that are available to you. The hardships are always temporary and there’s always an end result. And this would please you and your family.”
Reyes is an education major at the Northern Marianas College and is set to graduate in May 2017. She took up nursing for three years at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon but had to stop and moved back to Saipan in 2013.
“I had to start over again. I really need help since federal financial aid is limited to only six years. I need help to pay for my last semester. I can use it for my tuition, books, and daycare for my daughter. I’m thankful for this scholarship for single moms,” she added.
This is the second time that Reyes applied for the Live Your Dream Award. “I applied last year but I was late and also had some missing documents. Jill [Arenovski] advised me to apply again. As much as I try to work, I still need assistance since it is not enough to pay for everything.”
She would start being a student teacher next semester. “You will spend the whole day inside the classroom, from the beginning of classes to dismissal. It is different from practicum where you are only there for a few hours.”