Doreen Kayla grew up in Kenya. Her childhood—unlike that of many of her classmates at Stillman College—wasn’t filled with after-school activities and family vacations. Instead, she experienced the height of the violence of the Kenyan crisis, where an estimated 800 to 1,500 men, women, and children were killed and 180,000 to 600,000 displaced. “To be honest, that part of my life is really difficult for me to relive. It’s painful, and I’ve tried to put that behind me,” Doreen notes.
But that difficult and painful part of her life is also the soil where the seeds of a desire to help others were planted. “After the post-election violence, a message of peace began to spread, and I worked under the umbrella of USAID to help collect food and clothing for those men, women, and children who were displaced. However little we had, we gave in an effort to save a life. After all, God calls us to be our brother’s and sister’s keeper, so that’s just what I did.”
Doreen came to Stillman College as a pre-med major with plans to study nursing. Her plans changed after she arrived, and today Doreen is studying psychology. “I’ve grown to love this field. My studies continue to give me insight into some of the social issues that I’ve personally experienced in my life. With this new insight, I’ve decided to focus on pursuing a career in the mental health field, with the hope of helping as many people as possible.”
According to Doreen, schools like Stillman are important because “they provide a place where racial ethnic students can really connect with their roots and establish the foundations they need to be successful in life.” She also adds that schools like Stillman help keep family traditions alive. “I’ve met many students here who have come to Stillman because their mother or father or aunt or uncle attended here. For so many, this is a family tradition.”
“My faith in God is what keeps me going. Sometimes it’s hard being away from home, but prayers have moved mountains and worked miracles in my life that I never imagined could be possible. My faith has continued to grow during my time at Stillman, and I’m so grateful….so blessed. My journey hasn’t always been easy, but my experiences have brought me closer to God and helped me deepen my faith, and I hope to be able to share that faith with others as I continue on my journey….wherever God may lead me.”
The Christmas Joy Offering honors God’s promise by making and delivering upon meaningful promises of our own: to church workers through assistance in their time of need and racial ethnic education and leadership development. Please give generously, to help others like Doreen.