Scholarship looks to uplift teens in difficult living situations

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A new scholarship through Luke 9:23 ministries is looking to lift up students in difficult living situations.

Matt and Andrea Harris founded Luke 9:23 Ministries twelve years ago with the goal of helping churches get through paperwork. However, they found another type of ministry to be passionate about through their journey with their son Jacob Stanley.

“He had a rough upbringing,” said Matt. “His dad committed suicide and from there, he kind of had a kind of a hole in his life and he pursued trying to fill that hole and he ended up in the hospital with a drug overdose.”

That overdose happened last year. Jacob had not been a frequent drug user but turned to Percocet to fill the hole. What he did not know, was that the Percocet contained fentanyl that would cause him to overdose. Doctors told the Harris’ to start planning for Jacob’s funeral but their son ended up surviving. He had extension brain damage and a long road of recovery ahead of him, but Jacob pushed himself to learn how to talk, walk, and even eat.

Then almost one month ago on June 14, Jacob died in his sleep, leaving the Harris family searching for a way to continue his legacy.

“He wanted his life to count,” said Harris. “He wanted it to matter.”

They teamed up with The Crossing, a school that provides job training and faith-based character education to create a scholarship for students in difficult living situations who are reaching for a better life. They saw how Jacob benefitted from his education there and wanted to contribute.

“The teachers at the crossing, nominate students at the school there that have gone through some stuff,” Matt said. “Most of the students that there have gone through some stuff, but have been introduced to a relationship with Jesus that changes them and begins transforming their life.”

Students must write their life stories down for a team to review and then go through an interview. Their first scholarship winner is Annessa Darden, 18.

“I was actually surprised, I didn’t know my story was that impactful,” said Darden. “[I] Just came from a really rough and abusive home and I just kept my head up, focused on school and did what I could to be a good citizen, really, of the community. I guess the emotion and what I went through, it touched people’s hearts.”

Darden plans on attending Indiana Tech in the fall. She hopes her story inspires people.

“I want them to be able to be like she’s had a rough life, but she’s still making a good outcome of her life,” Darden said .”Even if you go through bad things, it doesn’t matter. You could still be a good person and live your life.”

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