2019 Scholarship Winner
Congratulations, Kristin Dreesen!
Jason Kulpa Community Scholarship Winner
The Jason Kulpa Scholarship Team is pleased to name Kristin Dreesen the winner of the 2019 Community Scholarship! Ms. Dreesen is a mother, student, and impactful member of the East County Community. Most notably, Ms. Dreesen is the director of East County Younglives, a ministry dedicated to mentoring teen mothers.
“Ms. Dreesen is a brilliant example of a community leader,” said Jason Kulpa. “We are impressed by her ability to devote her time to so many and wish her the best in both her academic and philanthropic endeavors.”
Read Ms. Dreesen’s Application:
"I have been involved in YoungLives in San Diego’s east county for almost ten years. YoungLives is a relational outreach ministry to teen moms in the community. When I was introduced to YoungLives, in 2009, I thought I had nothing in common with teen moms so I figured that I would just help watch the babies. However, the very first night I came, my heart broke for a very pregnant inner-city young mom who didn’t have any family support. She’d lost her mom the year before and had never known her dad. She was very “rough around the edges” and couldn’t believe anyone would take time to make sure she had what she needed to survive and succeed. I spent many hours driving her to appointments and made sure she graduated from high school so she could have a better shot at a decent job. She chose to pursue more school so that one day she could be a 911 dispatcher.
At YoungLives, we spend time each week hanging out and building friendships with young moms (14-21years old) and their babies and encourage them to seek healthy relationships and follow their dreams. We offer life skills and support services that they don’t otherwise have access to including career advice, health and wellness, financial management, tutoring, and more. We also encourage moms to graduate from high school and help them navigate college registration and the workforce. Along the way, we also get to share our faith and life with them and introduce them to more young moms who offer a wonderful community of support. I recently decided to go back to school to finish my degree so that I had more to offer them as well as more credibility to encourage them to continue in school (if I can do it, they can!). The more time I spend with these young moms, the more I feel like they are teaching me more than I have taught them. These are moms who have heartbreaking stories of abuse, addiction, and abandonment and they are constantly judged by a society that doesn’t know their stories. They are true warriors and want to be the best moms they can be. Their babies serve as a constant encouragement for them to pursue better jobs and more education as they want a better life for their kids than they had growing up. Isn’t that what we all want for the ones we love? We want good things for them! One of the things I am most proud of is the way my own two kids have grown to look out for others and have a heart for serving. They have soft hearts and they treat our young moms with respect and see them as real people. I notice the change in myself as well. I tend to look beyond the person now and seek out the story that makes up their life."