Growing up in Trinidad and Tobago, college student Judith Job's focus was on sports not academics. She planned to earn an athletic scholarship to attend college, but an injury sidelined her plans.
"Getting injured and not being able to afford healthcare ended my career as an athlete and I think that was one of the main obstacles I faced living in the Caribbean," she said.
Job had to rethink her future. Her experience with the healthcare system led her to her Plan B: studying to become a physical therapist so that she can help young athletes like herself back home.
She now attends Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas. The school is one of the 11 historically black colleges and universities supported by The United Methodist Church through its Black College Fund
"What brought me to HTU, a black university, is the way in which … they're family. They treat us like we are all one, and it's amazing to see so many black alumni turn back and help The United Methodist Church and the black students here," she said.
"Coming to college has changed my life, because I am able to see people of color, like myself, and people who have not (had) the best backgrounds … help each other to achieve one main goal, and that is to be educated. So, that has inspired me not only to become educated, but to help people of my race, from my background, people of Trinidad and Tobago, (realize) that you can come to college and you can achieve greatness."
Job is the president of the Pre-Alumni Council on campus and works in the writer's studio. She also works with Religious Life and Campus Ministries at HTU, which has given her the opportunity to visit different churches and sustain her religious background. She grew up in the Anglican Church in the Caribbean.
"When I study, I know God is with me, I know that he is watching and it's part of me doing this for me and for him and everybody who is a part of the church … I take God with me wherever I go."
She said The United Methodist Church should continue to support the Black College Fund to help people of color reach new heights.
"Coming to America to achieve … the American dream, it was hard. I cried many nights. I didn't want to do it, I wanted to quit … But, coming here, I realized it's bigger than me. Because coming here encouraged some of my friends to come, people who look up to me, the little girl who lives on my street to come. I realized, it's not just my fight. I have to encourage and inspire others to come. Because there is an opportunity here that's not like anywhere else," she said.
"Education can get us out of poverty and give us a better life."
Julie Dwyer, general church content editor, United Methodist Communications
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Black College Fund provides financial support to maintain solid, challenging academic programs; strong faculties; and well-equipped facilities at 11 United Methodist-related historically black colleges and universities. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Black College Fund apportionment at 100 percent.