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Malone garners $2,500 scholarship

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By Tris DeRoma

The money they gave Jamy Malone was very important, but even more important to her was the belief members of the White Rock Presbyterian Church had in her.

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That’s what one of the recipients of a $2,500 “Julie’s Helpers” scholarship told the crowd at the Helpers annual picnic July 30.

“The check was not the most beautiful thing. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited when I got it… but the most beautiful thing was that you saw value in me and that made the biggest difference,” Malone said to the crowd. “I will carry that with me forever. You guys could have given me $100, but it was the words that really touched my heart and gave me more strength to keep going and be an inspiration for my children, to be the rock they need, because sometimes, they’re my rock.”

A single mother of three, Malone has traveled a tough road.

She wasn’t expecting the scholarship, she told church members. She applied with the hope that she would get it.

“So, when I got the phone call saying that I got it, I almost started crying,” she said.

Malone’s parents divorced when she was in the first grade, and then her education suffered.

“The problem was I was homeschooled. The reason why I say homeschooled is because my parents said I was homeschooled, but in reality I stayed at home all day,” Malone said. “I didn’t have friends, I did not go to school, I did not learn anything. I had the books, but it was more like, ‘here you go, work on it.’ Most kids are not going to learn on their own.”

When she moved to Indiana, she finally went to high school, but then she discovered she had another problem.

“I was terribly shy, because I didn’t learn any social skills. I was scared to death of everything, because I had grown up in my house, by myself.” she said.

“One of the things I don’t want to see happen with my children is that I don’t want them to ever experience that. I want them to learn how to engage with people and have friends and build themselves up to become young and confident.”

Malone said she’s studying business at the University of Gallup, and will soon transfer to the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque to further pursue her studies. She is looking to fill a much-needed problem non profit organizations are currently experiencing within the Navajo Nation.

After working for a time with a non-profit organization that works with the Navajo Nation, Malone noticed a very troubling trend she hopes to correct once she gets her degree.

“There are also a lot of young people who aren’t focusing on business. The ones that are, don’t have a lot of experience... What’s happening is that the young ones are not able to fully understand and take on the work, and the older ones are being kept longer than they want,” Malone said.

“I have the experience, but I don’t have the degree, so I want to go back and push myself into that gap to help with that transitional gap...I want to fill what’s missing,” Malone said.

Each year, Julie’s Helpers gives scholarships to women who work to help the Navajo Nation. The group was founded seven years ago within the church as a memorial to one of the church’s members, Julie Meadows.

Meadows, who was an active member of the church and committed to helping the Navajo people, passed away in 2009.

“They (the scholarships) are a way to remember Julie Meadows and her love for the Navajo people,” Pastor John Guthrie said.

According to Guthrie, over $24,000 in scholarships have been awarded since Julie’s Helpers began. Funding comes from donations, Meadows’ sorority, Alpha Zeta Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, and the House of Fellowship Navajo Church. The group has given away 11 scholarships since 2011.

Applicants are selected through their academic merits, an essay, their desire to serve the Navajo Nation and their financial need.

Malone was one of two recipients of a scholarship. The other scholarship went to Elisha Sneddy, who could not make the annual picnic and awards ceremony at Rover Park in White Rock.