Announcing Our Fall 2018 Scholarship Winner
Everyone at Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law is dedicated to helping our local and nationwide communities build strong foundations that will lead to a brighter future. As part of that dedication, we decided to start a scholarship in 2017. The Fall 2018 submission period just came to a close, and we were truly humbled by the amount of applications we received as well as the overall quality of every essay. Thank you to everyone who applied!
We’re happy to announce that we’ve chosen a winner. Congratulations to Maly Sears of Adrian, MO!
Maly is attending her first year of graduate school at Kansas State University College of Architecture, Planning & Design.
Fall 2018’s essay topic was as follows:
If you could travel anywhere in the world and help one community/group of people without cost being a factor, where would you go, who would you help, and why?
Here’s her essay:
“On the outskirts of the bustling city of Saigon, Vietnam, an orphanage called Tam Binh sits on an old, dusty side street. Within the walls of Tam Binh, hundreds of stories are woven together to tell a magnificent tale of tragedy, exhaustion, poverty, hope, joy, and love. Children ranging from newborns to teenagers fill the orphanage. They keep the caretakers busy with the task of raising and teaching dozens of high-need children. The efforts of these women have not been forgotten, and I remember them with great fondness, as they were my parents from the time I was born until I was two.
As I have grown in maturity and perspective, I realize that my caretakers gave their life, everything that they are, so that children like me could have a chance in this world. Without their care, I wouldn’t have had a family in such crucial years of my life. At the age of two, my adoptive parents took me to America, the land of opportunity where I was able to flourish. My parents taught me how to love and the importance of kindness and service. They showed me how to have a heart of gratefulness by teaching me to count my blessings and to focus on good things.
In the summer of 2015, I was blessed with the opportunity to return to my homeland to visit Tam Binh and to see the great beauties of Vietnam. I remember two events the clearest: seeing the nursery at Tam Binh and playing with a group of awesome, young girls.
Barefoot, I walk into a room full of beautiful, beautiful babies lying in cribs. So innocent and perfect. As I walk the room, all I can think is: I was here. I was one of these babies. Peering into the eyes of these precious children, I feel sadness so deep, and suddenly my mom is holding me. I don’t remember when I started crying or when we finally left.
Physically, I am walking away from the nursery, but my heart stays with them. Up some stairs and to the left, our next stop is an all girls music class. I start teaching them songs which rapidly turns into the most enthusiastic session of Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes and the Hokey Pokey I have ever had the pleasure to take part in. They are all ecstatically leaping, screaming, and laughing. I always imagined orphanage kids as gloomy and sad, but they are full of life and joy.
I am so sad when we finally leave. I don’t want to forget a single one of them. I hope and pray that they are adopted by parents who love and adore them as much as I came to love them in those 45 minutes of playtime.
Visiting Tam Binh three years ago showed me that the world needs these children and they need us. If I could help anyone in this world, I would dedicate my life to helping and loving the orphaned children at Tam Binh. Realistically, the caretakers do their best with little resources since the Vietnamese government provides an equivalent of ten US dollars for each child per month. Help is spread thin at the orphanage. There are so many children and there simply isn’t enough workers to give each child even close to one on one care.
I can see myself helping with tasks such as dishes, laundry, cleaning, and feeding. I also know that just having fun and playing with the kids is so vital to the children’s emotional health. The wonderful thing about children is language is not a barrier. Children communicate in the language of silly fun, dancing, snuggles, and laughs. There is no greater joy for me than caring for people and making kids laugh.
In addition, as a fluent English speaker, I could aid with adoptions and helping adoptive parents meet their future children. When I visited Tam Binh, none of the workers spoke English and we had to rely on our guide for translations. It would be wonderful to have somebody the kids trust to be the bridge between parent and child. To take this one step further, I could aid the kids in learning English themselves. When I played with the girls back in 2015, they were practicing English in workbooks and could already count to ten. Knowing how to speak English is a valuable skill, and it is something I could teach.
Tam Binh, the wonderful children, and the incredible caretakers have captured my heart. Helping this orphanage, the place where I began, is something I am extremely passionate about. I was granted a new life through the love of my caretakers and adoptive parents. With this life, I hope to bless the lives of others.”
For more information on the next scholarship period which will be for Fall 2019, please see our law firm’s scholarship page. Congratulations again, Maly! Good luck in all your future endeavors.