Kadidjia, a 20 year old college student who is in her second year at Borough of Manhattan Community College, is the recipient of the 2010 New Yorkers For Children Spirit Award.  She is currently pursuing her Liberal Arts degree and intends to switch to a four-year college to study Biology.  Her dream is to attend medical school and become a gynecologist.

Kadidjia entered care at the age of 12 after her father forced her to leave home.  She lived in a series of foster homes, attending different schools with every move.  Eventually, she was returned to her birth family.  Lacking a stable home life and support system, Kadidjia ran away and found herself homeless at 13 years old.   She soon came to believe that the only way for her to better her life was through an education, at which point she signed herself back into care and re-enrolled in high school.  As a result of her academic achievement and determination to attend college, she graduated from high school one semester early.

In college, Kadidjia’s academic and extracurricular activities exemplify her tremendous desire to succeed despite her tumultuous childhood.   She served as President of the Scholarship Club and was a member of the Academic Senate.  She is currently a Student Ambassador, a peer mentor, a volunteer at the Women’s Health Center at Metropolitan Hospital and a member of the NYFC Youth Advisory Board.  She is also participating in the Cornell Pathway to Success Program, a program for motivated and intellectually curious community college students, who are interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Cornell.

Kadidjia’s strength has allowed her to set and achieve her own goals and to assist others to reach their own.  Focusing her efforts on disadvantaged youth, Kadijia shares her experiences in hopes of inspiring youth in care who are in need of guidance.  She plans to use the Spirit Award to prepare for the MCAT and assist her with medical school tuition.

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