Hello my name is Lisa Jackson. I am from the Spirit Lake Tribe and I attend Cankdeska Cikana Community College. I am the third oldest of 10 children, and I faced unique obstacles and challenges – many related to drugs and alcohol in my community. At the age of 15, I entered myself into a Job Corps program, and within 6 months graduated with my high school diploma in their CNA program. Moving  to Minnesota, I planned to get my life on track – but drinking followed me.

At the age of 21, I was diagnosed with cancer and was expecting my second child. As I re-entered school, I faced declining grades and depression, but I was not about to give up …

Recommitting to my education was the best decision I could have made, and now my two beautiful children are inspired by my example. As a single parent, I work part-time and attend college full-time. Despite my childhood, I have come to understand the importance of getting an education and making a good life for my kids. I’ll be the first in my family to graduate college, and I hope my example will also inspire my siblings.

My commitment to education is already paying off, and I will graduate with honors next month from Cankdeska Cikana Community College’s Social Work Program. I plan to continue my education at University of North Dakota to attain my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. I eventually want to get my masters, and I know combining my dreams with a positive attitude will help me achieve my goals.

My plan after college is to use my education to serve my community. In today’s society, there are so many negative factors that influence our people, and my experience in social work will make it possible for me to change their lives. I want to help them set goals and persevere, providing positive examples for generations to come.

I am also volunteering to help those facing similar obstacles and hardships. A couple years ago I was unsure of where I was headed, but now I can’t wait to become a Social Worker. As a survivor of domestic violence, my experience is helping me serve other women and children in need. My education makes it possible for me to do my best for others. A lot of places in Indian Country need support and encouragement, and I am ready to do my part.

I would like to take this moment to thank all the donors of the American Indian College Fund. Being a full-time student and mother while working part-time isn’t easy, but I’m going to continue to give it my all and keep pushing forward. Thank you for helping me and other Native students expand our opportunities and navigate our future!

Pidamaya