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2013 Second Runner Up - Essay

Christine Kalyvas

Scholarship Amount: $5,000

Hometown: St. Petersburg, FL - School: The University of Florida

In 1994, a proud Greek man looked into my mother’s eyes as she told him that she was pregnant. I can only imagine the rage of emotions that must have gone through my father’s head as he held his beautiful wife who was now carrying his child. I’ll never know how he must have felt when he thought about the sacrifices she was going to have to make, knowing that he had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. His time would be cut short. The 42′ Cris Craft wooden boat was our home. I’m sure he knew that without him it would be impossible to handle the maintenance on the boat, raise his daughter, and manage life on the water. The following year I was born, and a year after that my father held me for the last time.

Life insurance through work was more than adequate, so they thought. Because he was ill for so long, his employment was terminated. Being distracted with illness, a newborn baby, grocery shopping, and life on a boat in general, my mother never imagined that no financial assistance would be available to her through the life insurance that had expired with his career.

The burdens of my mother to put the boat for sale so we could move into the small condominium where we still reside were a tremendous load to bear. Being a year old, I doubt that I offered much assistance. My mother had to return to work after only a 4 week maternity leave and has stepped up to the plate to raise me on her own to this day. I am very grateful that she is a strong independent woman. Now, when I have proudly been accepted to The University of Florida it continues to be a financial struggle and point of stress to figure out how we are going to manage my 4 years at college. But, always with the positive mindset my mother and I will make it work.

In many ways, I have tried to fill a void in my life from the loss of my father. I don’t know if having Life insurance would have filled the voids that still exist in my spirit. However, a great lesson is to be learned here. My father was only 42 when he passed; it is never too early to protect your family. He had life insurance through his work; you cannot always count on others. It is imperative to gain insurance to protect your family at any age; you just don’t know what is going to happen. In times of trauma, it may be difficult to check on such details when you are so overwhelmed. Meeting with an adviser that has insight to all the ˜what-ifs’ of insurance is one of the best things you can do to protect your family. Before it happens before you need it while your head is clear to make good decisions.

You can help students like Christine make their dream of a college education come true by donating to the nonprofit Life Lessons Scholarship fund. Donate here.

2013 Top Recipients