When Tracy Basden was just 18 years old, she became the head of her household. With the death of both of her parents and becoming her younger brother’s legal guardian, she found herself overwhelmed with the enormous level of responsibility thrust upon her at such a young age.
Tracy told us her story at the closing general session of the annual NAILBA conference held last week in Florida. She bravely addressed the audience and spoke about losing her mom when Tracy was four and losing her dad when she was just 18. After her father passed, Tracy became a single parent overnight, working two jobs, trying to get a college degree and taking care of a household and her younger brother.
But that didn’t stop Tracy’s educational aspirations. As she told the conference attendees Friday, her dad had always stressed the importance of a good education. Since her father’s life insurance policy provided only enough funds to cover funeral expenses, Tracy decided to sell her father’s house to pay for college and other expenses. But it didn’t cover everything.
Tracy found herself racking up student loan debt in 2008 when she got a call from Life Happens. They informed her that she was the winner of a $5,000 scholarship from the organization’s Life Lessons Scholarship Program.
“I cried,” Tracy said. “Can this really be happening to me? It meant I could continue with my college degree. The scholarship not only helped with my education, it also led me to self-healing.”