WASHINGTON – Mya Thompson has a short window after class to pick up her 6-year-old son, Ma’Khi, before her shift as a 9-1-1 operator begins.
“It’s very complicated,” said the 25-year-old Howard University student. “By Monday morning, I’m up by 7 am, getting Ma’Khi to school. Get him to school by 7:45 am, no later than 815 am.”
“At 3 pm, I’m rushing out of class to go pick up Ma’Khi to take him to my aunt’s house, and then right there I’m leaving there to rush to my job so I can start my 12-hour shift,” explained Thompson.
Howard University was established two years after the Civil War to provide African-Americans with an opportunity for higher learning. But it comes at a cost.
“I get financial aid, but sometimes it doesn’t cover – like this semester it doesn’t cover my whole tuition package that I have to pay to the university,” Thompson said.
But the load she carries as she prepares to graduate this spring just got a little lighter. Thompson is one of 34 students at Howard University who just became a recipient of an act of kindness from on high. A predominately African-American church in Virginia is helping pay down her debt.
“The fact that this weight is lifted off my shoulders, I am forever grateful. I will forever think about this,” she said.
The congregation at Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria decided to fast for 30 days – abstaining from food, social media, and money – and raised $150,000.
With that money, Alfred Street cleared the accounts of students with balances from $100 to nearly $10,000.
Thompson says the unsolicited gift from Alfred Street has renewed her faith in God.
“God was calling me,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Hey, you got my attention.'”
Alfred Street Baptist Church hopes their planned act of kindness will spark churches around the country to do the same.