Zonta Scholarship Essay by Kaire Downin
Taking 12 credits a term, keeping a GPA of over 3.0 as well as navigating a health care system to manage the care of my daughter with Autism has been one of the most challenging aspects of being a mom in college. After experiencing these challenges and deciding to home school my daughter, its becoming even more challenging yet and I don’t see it getting much easier. That being said, my passion and drive to make the world a better place for my daughters and the women and daughters in my community fuels my love for education and addiction to volunteering.
At OSU, I am working on 2 degrees, one in Human Development and Family Science, the other in Women Studies with a minor in Psychology. The main goal of my education is to be a midwife. I hope to continue to attend college part time to earn the prerequisite credits to finish in the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland where I will become a naturopathic physician and midwife. I will approach midwifery in a way that is more than catching babies, but transforming women into strong, independent, empowered and educated mothers by supporting the formation of their family with Holistic care. Working with mothers who are survivors of abuse is one of my top priorities. Childbirth is a time of transformation where the opportunity to heal many past emotional and spiritual injuries is present. I plan to provide support to help families grow out of old pains and into a new position of love and care, even if these mothers have not experienced a life of that themselves.
Having dropped out of high school the day I turned 16 and being a homeless teen, I didn’t have the opportunities or support to become a college graduate early in my life. I worked in night clubs, eventually finding a partner and getting pregnant at 19. Shortly after the birth of our son, we were married and have remained together for 16 years. I went to Massage Therapy school and worked for 4 years until I had my 2nd child. I spent 4 years of my 2 daughters’ early lives working from home as a seamstress after designing a baby carrier and creating an online business that failed due to the lack of financial investment I could contribute. After the loss of that opportunity, I had my hand at real estate, but that coincided with the drop in the market and I was, again, suffering due to lack of financial support and was forced to quit that endeavor and go to college. I never, in a million years, thought I would be a college student, and I certainly never thought I would be considering becoming a doctor.
The birth of my children was the most transformative and healing process for me. Currently, I am studying textbooks, reading studies, writing papers, attending a study group and conferences, and providing birth support as a doula when I am available. I also provide herbal and placenta medicine to new moms and post partum help with breastfeeding. I never turn down a client for lack of money because ALL moms deserve care. I believe the future of our society depends on peaceful births and support of mothers to raise peaceful children who will care about the people around them and the Earth we live on. I believe that Midwifery is one of the highest forms of working with women and is important for all people. All babies deserve a peaceful birth.
Acknowledging the lack of midwifery care in our health system has put me in position to be an activist politically. I am the Vice Chair of the Linn County Community Advisory Committee that oversees the efforts of Intercommunity Health Network and Samaritan Health services to perform the contracted duties of providing care to Oregon Health Care clients. Oregon Health Care is in a big transition and being a part of this committee puts me in a position to influence the way that health care is administered to the underprivileged population that uses OHP for services. The current goals are to reduce spending, provide patient centered, preventative care and create a system that addresses the full needs of the community which is currently lacking in mental health, maternity service, disability care, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation. It is an honor and privilege to be in this position which I was nominated for.
So as you can see, I am an active and passionate community member with a focus on women and children. Receiving this scholarship would help my family tremendously. We currently are a month behind on our mortgage and are wondering how we will pay for child care over the summer so we can both attend school full time. My part time care taking job will likely be terminated in another month. To be the recipient of this scholarship would be a blessing. Thank you for your consideration.