Family time, Girl Scouts, track and band add meaning to Makalah Cannon's life. But right now, school takes precedence for the young African-American woman from Lithonia, Georgia.
Now a student at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia, Makalah has already taken the Certified Nursing Assistant course, which offered hands-on experience. She recently applied to nursing school.
"Growing up," Makalah recalled, "my life was very fun." Her mother worked for the school system so always had summers off. Makalah, her brother and their mom traveled and participated in activities at Stone Mountain and the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta.
"My childhood was a great time in my life," she said. "The joys included camping trips with the Girl Scouts and vacations with my family. The challenges involved maintaining my GPA while participating in various school activities."
Makalah is grateful for her faith family's role in her life. "The United Methodist Church," she said, "has supported my upbringing by giving me a church home, a foundation and a doctrine grounded in structure, which helps me in my daily studies. My church has been my support throughout my childhood years and has ingrained in me the importance of praying, biblical teachings and United Methodist beliefs. They have given me the mindset that I am able to do anything I put my mind to do."
She heard about the Ethic Scholarship, supported by the offering on World Communion Sunday, through her church, Andrews Chapel United Methodist, Jonesboro, Georgia.
"Receiving this scholarship," she noted, "has helped my life tremendously. With my brother recently graduating from college with a significant amount of student-loan debt, it has been a struggle for my parents to pay his debt and my student expenses as well. Any scholarship money I receive is truly a blessing."
Already, Makalah knows that the road to becoming a nurse is tough.
"Many times," she admitted, "I get really stressed out and overwhelmed and start to think I cannot do this. However, I know that this is what God has called me on this earth to do, so I depend on my faith to get me through the hard times. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it."
Makalah's goal is to become a registered nurse, working with neonatal or geriatric patients. "As a successful nurse," she said, "I will focus on quality patient care and making people's lives better each day. I would also like to pursue my master's in nursing in hopes of becoming a nurse practitioner.
"As a nurse," she continued, "I want the little things I do for a patient to make a difference and change their lives. I want to be able to influence people I come in contact with to eat healthier and be healthier. I will also use my nursing skills and knowledge to inform my church community on how take care of themselves on a daily basis."
Barbara Dunlap-Berg, freelance writer and editor, retired from UMCom
One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, World Communion Sunday calls the church to reach out to all people and model diversity among God's children. The special offering provides World Communion Scholarships, the Ethnic Scholarship Program and the Ethnic In-Service Training Program.