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Kirssy Martinez

(Bronx Community College)

Last year, Kirssy Martinez was beating herself up over all the time she had lost.

At 25 years old, she had been out of high school for almost eight years. She was married. She had a child. She was working as a waitress and couldn’t see any way out. “I felt I was stuck.” She says. “I was praying to God to open the doors to me.”

Unexpectedly, back in her native Dominican Republic, her mother was able to borrow enough for her first semester at Bronx Community College. “I said eventually all the money is going to come from some other place,” she says.

“Then, before I knew it someone called me from school” with news of the scholarship. The deadline was the next day. “Of course it is like heaven-sent. God is totally involved. He is the one opening doors.”

At 12 she was rebellious. At 14 she was sent alone to New York to live with relatives. “At 20 my life changed. I realized that a life of just vanity and living a wild life will leave an emptiness in your soul.”

Now she’s studying liberal arts, hoping to become a college professor. “I like reading. My English teacher wants to publish some of my writing.”

Last semester, Kirssy got an A+ in all her classes. She has a job tutoring. She goes to church in her neighborhood in the Bronx, where she works with the homeless. She is also the executive assistant of a Xeroderma Pigmentosum-awareness nonprofit. A program at school provides low-cost care for her three-year old daughter.

“Even though there may be problems in my life, God is the one giving me the strength.” The piece of work she hopes to publish is a memoir – a story of how she almost wasn’t born. “It’s a true story. Here I am – for a purpose.”