I was orphaned by 11, separated from my 4 siblings, moved around from place to place, where I finally landed at the home of Dick and Mary Gilbert, who ran an emergency shelter for foster children. Kids came and went, but the Gilberts saw something in me and offered me legal guardianship. They helped me through challenges, including past emotional and physical abuse. They also helped me maneuver the paperwork and visits needed to become one of the 3% of kids from foster care who attend college.
I started by selling yummy Mountain Girl Granola™ and donating proceeds to The Gilbert Scholarship. Now it is a 501 c3 non-profit. With granola sales and donations, by December 2019, 10 students from foster care will have received it. Two Cape Fear Community College students are the first recipients here in Wilmington. One student spent 11 years in foster care; the second student, her entire life. At the doors of Meredith College, Dick Gilbert smiled and said. “Just be yourself kid, you have a right to be here. ” I am passing those words along to these students with this scholarship. They are worthy of an education and “have a right to be here.”