It's us again, here at the OM@home blog, a blog about children and young people, written for children and young people . . . . For young people just like you, about young people who inspire us all at OM HQ.
Young people like Samantha Garvey . . . .
She might be just 18, but Samantha has achieved more than most people manage in their entire lives . . .
She has carried out groundbreaking research and been named amongst the brightest up-and-coming scientists in the United States. She has been an official guest at the State of the Union Address, spent time chatting to the President and been cited as an inspiration to the most powerful man on the planet. She has made high-profile connections, forged an impressive reputation and offered hope to those living in despair. That, just eight months ago, she didn't even have a home to call her own underlines that Samantha is a special person indeed.
Hailing from Brentwood, NY, Samantha's troubles began in 2011. Her parents injured in a car accident and her mom, a nurse, unable to return to work, the family's problems soon escalated. On New Year's Eve - a time that is supposed to be about hope - the Garveys were evicted. Entering 2012, Samantha, her siblings and her parents were officially homeless.
The local authorities helped them to find a place in a shelter, in Suffolk County, Long Island, but the future looked bleak. Then the letter arrived . . .
Samantha's research - this a two-and-a-half year project centered around mussels and their marine environment - had been causing quite a stir in scientific circles, so much so that she found herself nominated for a prize in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search.
So promising is this talented teenager that life has changed in an astonishing fashion . . .
There followed an invitation from a local Congressman to be his guest at the State of the Union Address, a six-week internship at the Mount Desert Island Biological Lab in Bar Harbor, a $50,000 scholarship from AT&T and a place as a freshman at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME.
Samantha also took part in the White House Science Fair, where she met - and inspired - President Obama, so much so that he mentioned her in his speech at the recent Democratic National Convention.
'The young woman I met at a science fair, who won national recognition for her biological research while living with her family in a homeless shelter, she gives me hope,' the President told the attendees. Samantha responded, 'This was one of the most exciting moments ever - to hear that I was a source of inspiration for the President, thinking that I give him hope . . . I [just] want to do better for myself, I want a better life'.
Deep down, that's what we all want, it's just that the complications life throws up all too often get in the way . . .
Samantha has shown that problems can be overcome, that drive and determination make all the difference and that, no matter our troubles, a better life is always worth fighting for. In doing that, she has given hope not just to the President, but to us all here at OM HQ, where we are sure to use this remarkable tale to inspire our attempts to make a difference in this world.
To quote President Obama, 'Think about what she has done'.
Think about what you could do . . .