My name is Benjamin Parsons, and I’m seeking your help. I am a disabled father of two. In 2004, I was in a horrible car wreck, breaking my C5, C6, and C7 vertebras. Initially, I was paralyzed from the neck down. Determined to walk again, I endured months and months of physical therapy. I was hospitalized for only 50 days and continued to do my physical therapy afterward as an outpatient, slowly regaining my mobility. Because I am such a determined and independent individual, I returned back to the workforce even though I had not fully recovered, and after having been on disabity ony 11 months.
I got a job working as a dispatcher for Cox Petroleum Transport in Bakersfield, CA, and after a yea and a h lf, I go an offer from the Kenan Advantage Group (KAG) to be a dispatcher in Canton, OH. Two years later I transferred back to California. After nine years of working for KAG, the long hours and stress of the job caught up to me physically, and I started having tremendous pain due to my previous injuries. I was forced to go on disability once more. Because of my physical disability, I am unable to do any kind of physical labor, and without a college degree, I found it very difficult to find a career that I can physically tolerate. I am not one for giving up. I intend to set an example for my children through my determination, not allowing any obstacles to block my ability to achieve independence and success in life.
I decided that I needed to get my college degree that I started 15 years prior. So, I re-enrolled into Bakersfield College (BC) and was awarded the necessary financial aid to assist me to be able to afford attendance, as my income is now limited. Although my counselor seemed to assure me that all was well, a financial aid advisor recently informed me that my poor performance at BC 15 years ago would make me ineligible for financial aid in the spring. I’m not one to give excuses or deny responsibility, but given the possibility of being unable to attend classes in the spring, detrimentally hindering my ability to get a degree, a career, and get off of disability, I am explaining now why my performance was poor in 2000 and 2001. I was going through a very difficult time in my transition to adulthood; the foundation that I had been led to believe would be forever secure, was crumbling down. I know this may seem cliché to be so affected by it, but my parents going through a divorce at that time really messed me up. Because of that I made a lot of mistakes that affected my attendance and performance at BC.
Now those grades are haunting me 15 years later. Having a life-changing event such as breaking your neck really changes your perspective on everything. I’ve been through way too much to give up. When I enrolled, I started with 9 ½ units, because I did not want to overwhelm myself. I was told about an academic renewal program that might help my situation, so I signed up for three additional units, giving me a total of 12 ½ units this semester. Although this program will get the grades off of my GPA, it will not help at all with receiving the necessary financial aid for next semester.
As I am on disability, I will have tremendous difficulty affording school next semester without financial aid. Luckily, I will still receive the BOG waiver, which covers tuition, but I will still have to pay for books out of pocket. The cost for my books this spring semester will be $565.70. I am not one to ask for a handout, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Please consider helping me as I continue to prove that I am not the student I was 15 years ago. This semester I achieved a 4.0 GPA, and I plan on continuing with that trajectory.
Please do whatever you can to help me. I assure you that it will be worth it.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely, Benjamin D. Parsons
It's great to give to such a worthy cause.