Alumna Shauntay White graduated in 2012 as a Distinguished Scholar with her Associate Degree in Business Management. She chose to attend Brookdale Community College because everyone from her hometown of Asbury Park attended. “It was our community college,” she said. “It just felt right.”
One day while on campus, she attended an information session about studying abroad given by the International Education Center. “I went up to the director who looked like me and said I want to study abroad in Africa,” Shauntay said. “That is when I learned about specific study abroad scholarships and immediately started to apply for them.” As a result, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship awarded her $5,000. She also applied for five more scholarship opportunities and received a total of $10,500.
“That is when my life changed, and my dream since I was a little girl of visiting the African continent was now possible!” she exclaimed.
Shauntay also had a dream to open a non-profit organization someday and study abroad in Africa. “Thankfully, they offered a service-learning program and placed me with the SOS Children’s Village, an orphanage in Namibia,” she said. This opportunity and her experience during the study abroad program earned her a paid job. When she returned to the states, she could travel and promote the program at different Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).
That job opportunity stirred the desire to earn an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education, which created another opportunity to travel to The Gambia, West Africa, for business. While there, she started volunteering at an elementary school, the Lower Basic School. Shauntay was asked to share her story on YouTube (in what she said felt like an episode of the “EastEnders”). Because of her story, a foundation was created called “Each One Teach One.” With three events within eight months, $1500 was raised. That money provided school supplies to students, rice to the community, and most importantly, solar panel lights to a village that never had streetlights in its 300 plus years.
The Each One Teach One Foundation connects sponsors to students, and provides skill-based community workshops that uplift the standard of living and build confidence in The Gambia’s people. “Our motto is “Connect Africans Around the World,” Shauntay said.
“Attending Brookdale Community College, helped me to excel and believe in myself,” said Shauntay. “I am an entrepreneur and educator, and can proudly and confidently say, I got my start at Brookdale! I have traveled to Africa twice, and gained the knowledge to start a non-profit organization. Brookdale opened the door to make many of my dreams come true, and for that, I am grateful.”