ALTON - The Junior League of Greater Alton’s Women’s Empowerment Scholarship is helping one Alton woman follow her career path in a new direction.

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Kenita Jalivay, 47, is a former English teacher and program manager who served as a mentor to at-risk students in Philadelphia for 17 years, before returning to Southern Illinois to be closer to family.

Today, she’s studying Nursing at Lewis and Clark Community College, and plans to graduate with her Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) in Spring 2025. After completing her degree, she’ll sit for the NCLEX licensure exam to become a registered nurse (RN).

“I realized that I still want to serve children, just not in a classroom setting,” she said. “L&C’s Nursing program offers me the opportunity to train for a very important role, mid-career, as a pediatric nurse. In this capacity, I'll still have the opportunity to bring love and joy to children in serious need.”

Long-term, her goal is to work as a pediatric nurse, caring for children in an urban trauma center.

She said Lewis and Clark is not only affordable, but also prepares graduates for lucrative and rewarding careers in the healthcare industry.

“Lewis and Clark's Nursing program has a great reputation, is close to home, and works well with my schedule,” she said. “The campus is beautiful and creates a peaceful environment for students to learn and grow.”

Jalivay said Anatomy Professor Paula Holloway has made a positive impact on her journey thus far.

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“She makes a tough subject like Anatomy & Physiology feel fun because her love for her craft is infectious,” Jalivay said. “She is brilliant, a teacher's teacher. She encouraged us, built us up, and stood by our side as we navigated the rigors of a summer school schedule. I was blessed to have her and learned so much in such a short time.”

Jalivay graduated from Sparta High School in 1994. In addition to teaching, she also has her Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and is qualified to drive a bus.

Outside of work and the classroom, Jalivay describes herself as a world traveler, and an avid reader who loves to laugh. In her free time, she enjoys exploring cultural venues in and around St. Louis with her nieces and nephews.

She is also a recipient of the L&C Monticello Scholarship for Deserving Women.

She said these scholarship opportunities helped her finance her books, supplies and uniform for the Nursing program. The monetary support alleviated her anxiety and enabled her to prioritize her education, instead of worrying about how to pay for it.

“My dream is for everyone to have easy access to good healthcare, nutrition, and a great education,” she said. “These are basic human rights that all people deserve.”

The JLGA Women’s Empowerment Scholarship provides $1000 in financial support for one female L&C student, age 22 and older, who are working toward an associate degree.

L&C’s scholarship application is now open for the 2024-2025 academic year. Awards are typically announced in April. Learn more at https://www.lc.edu/pay-for-college/financial-aid/types-of-aid/scholarships.html.

To learn more about JLGA, visit www.juniorleaguealton.org.

The Junior League of Greater Alton, established in 1952, is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to empowering women and making the community in and around the Riverbend a better place for a diverse population of children and their families. JLGA is a chapter of the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. and is dedicated to the training and development of local women leaders and volunteers making an impact in the community. To learn more, visit www.juniorleaguealton.org.

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