Campaign finished. Thank you everybody. Our campaign is now over.
Help me achieve my goal: Conference in 9 days!
$1,550 Raised
52% of $3k goal
29 contributors
0 days left
Ended Mar 8, 2014
This fund is to help me, Jenny Simpson, get to my first conference as a grad student at UNBC. Yesterday morning I received an invitation to present a paper at the Nexus Interdisciplinary Conference, Greenways: The Interconnected Pathways of ... More ...

This fund is to help me, Jenny Simpson, get to my first conference as a grad student at UNBC. Yesterday morning I received an invitation to present a paper at the Nexus Interdisciplinary Conference, Greenways: The Interconnected Pathways of Communication and Environment at the University of Tennessee. I need to RSVP within 9 Days. This is an amazing opportunity that I have worked incredibly hard to be eligible for, but my current financial situation will not facilitate travel from Prince George BC to Knoxville Tennessee. So, since I'm hoping people will help me achieve my goal, it's only fair that I tell you a little about myself. 

Where I've come from:

Most people are unaware of this, but four and a half years ago, with the help of some wonderful friends, I escaped an abusive relationship and my life changed forever. As much as this was a positive event in my life, it did not solve everything. As a newly single mom, I was scared out of my mind, had no self-confidence, and felt like the entire world was judging me. I jumped at every loud noise, apologized at every percieved glare, and flinched every time a person moved quickly or came within arm's reach. However, with the help of some incredible friends and a sister who I hope never fully understands the support she gave, as well as colossal amounts of divine intervention and counseling, I realized that I needed to do the work that it would take to heal. For my babies, if not for myself. As a part of the healing process (and it continues), I challenged myself to do something to better the lives of my children; a task which at the time felt beyond impossible. I chose to get a PHD. I chose this because it seemed the most unlikely accomplishment for a single mom with no degrees who came from a non-professional family. If I could do this, then I could do anything. Even raise two little girls on my own. Even start to heal. To be honest, I didn't even know what a PHD was, other than important, much less what it would take or what subject I would pursue. 

Turning Around: 

Turning a dream into a goal forced me to focus on something positive. It forced me to keep living in spite of finding out I was pregnant again a week after I left, and wanting nothing more than to dissipate into thin air. It forced me to to get out of bed and quit feeling sorry for myself. It forced me to get dressed, do my hair, put on make-up, go out in public and interact with other people even though I was terrified of them; I had to fake the confidence I did not feel. It forced me to take responsibility for my life: how I'd gotten into the mess, and how I was going to get out. Most of all, it forced me to stop thinking about what had happened and start thinking about what I could make happen. And then something unexpected happened. What began as a plodding toward a vague sense of "better" for the sake of my children became something I wanted. Over the years a passion for education grew, and it became something I needed. 

Overcoming Obstacles: 

I've never suffered from the illusion that I was smarter than the average person. I was just determined to work harder. But during the process of getting the first degree, it seemed impossible. I was told that I was selfish and a horrible mother for pursuing an education when I should be at home with my little girls. When I first started asking about the Masters Program, one teacher said, "Single moms don't get Masters Degrees." But so many other teachers were supportive and told me "You can do this" and "You are ready" when I didn't think it could happen. There were days when I knew I was going to fail. There were days when I did. But then I learned that it's alright to fail if you honestly try your best. And with God's help, I found the ability to try again. Determination grew into confidence and I now realize that a PHD is not out of reach. Not only am I capable, but I am worth it. 


My non-academic life changed, too. I began to rebuild friendships that had been shattered by my former relationship. I tried trusting people again and I stopped being so mean because I realized that I no longer needed to be on a perpetual defensive. With a support network full of amazing friends and family, I became self-sufficient and confident in my ability to provide for my family. Last summer I came out of a depression that I hadn't realized existed until it lifted. It had been so long since I felt normal, that I didn't even recognize the feeling. I feel alive again for the first time in years. People are interesting, and I want to get to know them; not just interact on a functional level with them, but really know and care about them. I am in what is probably the first healthy relationship I've ever experienced. Best of all, my children are growing up healthy and happy, and without a clue what it is like to live in an abusive situation. They are not having to learn the "survival mechanisms" that directed me me to search for similarly abusive relationships. I feel like the world around me radiates with the touch of God, and I am awake and able to appreciate His work in my life. Maybe for the first time ever. The conference invitation alone is a signifier that I am on the road to accomplishing my goal. It is one more in a long string of impossible things made possible. Another prayer answered. 


Although I am now not quite five years into my twenty-five year plan, I can happily say that I now have a Bachelor of Arts and am part way through my Masters of Arts. I am working hard to maintain my grades and passionate about my area of study. It is a struggle to get the work done while still being the mother I want to be for my children. It is equally difficult to spend as much quality time as possible wtih my kids without neglecting my schoolwork and jeopardizing our futures. But I'm doing it. I must be! Because I am here, in an MA program, further than I thought possible and more prepared than ever to take on the challenges of the future. 

Why am I telling you this? 

To be honest, I'm not crazy about my personal journey being public knowledge. But, I believe that you have the right to know the person you are helping. Hopefully, my back story gives a little insight into my character and work ethics. I have accomplished so much, but I need help to get this little bit further. The opportunity that attending this conference represents to me is phenomenal. An experience like this is invaluable to my educational progression. It will aso make me more appealing as I break into the job market in my chosen field. This holds immediate importance since I hope to teach at the college level or edit professionally once I finish my Masters Degree, and until my children are in high school. (This will allow me to further develop my skill set, spend time with my children, pay off debts associated with schooling and hopefully save toward my doctoral degree.) These are the reasons I want to attend the conference, and I am excited and hopeful that this too, will become possible. 

Yesterday's conference invitation came not only as a surprise, but also as an incredible financial stress. Although I'm doing better than in the past, my current income does not facilitate travelling on this scale. I have spoken with a couple of travel agents, and for flight and accomodations I'm looking at $1833.63, so I'm guessing more like $2000 with taxes. The price goes up as the plane fills up though, so the sooner I book the better. Possibly another $300-$500 for food, transportation, etc. It has also been brought to my attention that I need travel insurance, of which I'm still looking into the cost, and there are bound to be other expenses that I have not forseen. Thus, my goal for this fund is the lowest amount that will allow me to attend the conference. I need to RSVP by the 15th of February, so I need to raise the funds within the next nine days. Please help me! Even a dollar will help and if everyone I know gives a dollar I will be in Tennessee this March, nervous beyond belief, giving a paper in front of a room full of strangers and loving every second! Please donate what you can, share my story, and be a part of my success. 

Important Update:

Thank you to everyone who has donated, both online and off. Enough has been raised to pay for the trip and I am currently experiencing the conference. It's easily one of the best experiences of my life so far! Thanks to everyone who helped get me here. Please note that if there are any further donations they will go toward next semester's tuition, but the trip is paid for. I'm so excited and thank you to everyone who has helped make this possible through donating and sharing! 

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