Paying it Forward - 2010 Profiles

Thelma Harris


Alumni - Sacramento, California
The education Thelma received at University of Phoenix has helped her grow personally and professionally. “I learned to write effectively. I learned to speak with confidence, substance and knowledge. I gained insight into working with individuals, groups, strategic planning and the importance of teamwork. Obtaining a BSN and MSN opened doors and opportunities that I never knew existed,” shares Thelma. After graduating she became a Director of Nurses for home health agencies and later moved into public health nursing. Her love for the community led Thelma to working with people living with HIV. Today, Thelma works as a lobbyist for California and Hawaii. She has much to be proud of but perhaps her greatest legacy is instilling a love for education in her children. Her son is a recent college graduate and her daughter is a junior in college.

Edward Simmons


Recipient - Sacramento, California
“Edward is someone I met during some difficult times in my life. He reached out to me knowing very little about me but asking how he might help. It was the tenderness in his heart that caused me to stop and pay attention as to who he was as an individual,” explains Thelma. Edward was there for Thelma when she faced some hard challenges by providing support and direction. This is who Edward is – a kind and caring person who always puts others first in his life. After two years of college he decided to join the army. He fulfilled his commitment and came out finding different jobs to support himself, including work as a security officer. Currently he mentors a young boy who has had difficulties graduating from high school. Since working with Edward, he has gone from “F” grades to “A and B” grades with a plan to graduate. With the Paying it Forward® scholarship Edward can add “college graduate” to his resume and use his gifts and talents to make a difference in even more lives.

Alumni Nominator and Recipient Profiles

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