For freshman Kandice Lake, The Master’s University (TMU) is both figuratively and literally her home.
The 19-year-old spent her entire life in and out of foster homes and foster care as her mother struggled with drug addiction and her father was in prison.
“My mom was a single mom of four kids and a teen mom. We grew up on welfare and my mom had a drug addiction,” Lake said. “We got taken away at school, at our house… we lived on and off in foster homes since I was three years old.”
Lake discovered TMU when she was a senior in high school living in a foster home in Pasadena, Calif. Her bible study group leaders went to and met at TMU and encouraged her to apply to the university.
“I wanted that strong community that put Christ at the center… and would look gracefully toward my academics because of my upbringing,” Lake said. “I couldn’t be more thankful and want to stay here.”
However, those dreams may be put on hold if Lake is unable to raise the $6,871 needed to cover the cost of her spring semester by tomorrow, April 5. And because she is an independent within the foster care system, she is unable to take out any additional loans because she does not have a co-signer.
To help Lake reach her goal and remain a TMU student, her friend and TMU junior Hannah White started a GoFundMe called “Keep Kandice at TMU” for individuals to contribute to her spring semester fees.
“She just started the page yesterday and they’re already halfway there, it’s amazing,” said Sophia Taylor, an adjunct professor in the communications department at TMU. “We have such a close, tight-knit community that whenever anyone puts out a call for help, we answer it.”
Lake’s financial situation is unique in that she only needs funding to support the cost of her spring tuition. With Cal-Grants and academic scholarships, the remaining three years of her education are covered, but they depend on her attending classes and maintaining her GPA.
“It is just the rest of this semester she has to worry about,” White said on the GoFundMe page. “However, if we are unable to work with the school for the rest of this semester, she will fail all of her classes which will bring her GPA down causing her to lose her academic scholarship for the next three years. She would then be unable to come back to Master’s.”
The TMU community is doing what they can to keep the freshman at the university. On Thursday, Lake and her friends hosted a car wash on at the Carl’s Jr. on Pico Canyon Road and individuals shared the GoFundMe page nearly 200 times.
“It is amazing,” Lake said. “I’m super grateful for my friends.”
If she continues to remain a student at TMU, Lake hopes to complete her communications degree and write books or movies and work on a talk show.
“I do want to enter the work field,” she said. “I love spending time with people. I want a job that’s interactive and is something I want to drive to in the morning.”
The Keep Kandice at TMU GoFundMe page can be found at: www.gofundme.com/keep-kandice-at-tmu
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_