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Taila pleads for $130,000
Former national volleyball player Taila de Souza is in need of funds for her final semester at the American International College, Springfield, Massachusetts. The 24-year-old is pursuing a doctor of physical therapy and has to pay approximately $130,000 by February 14 to complete a 12-week clinical internship.
She is hoping at least 20,000 readers of the T&T Guardian in print and online can donate the minimum amount of US$1 to her US$20,410 fees. De Souza played on the national volleyball team from 2002 until 2008. She possesses a BSc cum laude in interdepartmental science from the same college and upon completion of her final semester will fulfil her dream of becoming a physical therapist.
The physical therapy programme is an accelerated “3+3” programme where the student completes three years of undergraduate coursework as pre-requisites before moving on to complete three years of graduate level work. At the end of the first year of graduate level work, the BSc is conferred as a means of giving students credit for completing four years of work.
The past student of St Joseph’s Convent, Port-of-Spain, said, “I have completed all required coursework with the exception of submitting a final draft of my research project to pass a one-credit scientific inquiry course and a 12-week clinical internship course worth ten credits.”
She contacted the T&T Guardian with the hope that good Samaritans, the Government or the corporate sector will make donations towards her fundraising project http://gogetfunding.com/project/taila-s-last-semester-of-college. De Souza earned a four-year athletic scholarship by playing volleyball and tennis at the NCAA Division II level.
The Cunupia resident began studies in the fall semester of 2008 and her last scholarship-funded semester was spring 2012. She said, “I recognised at the very beginning of my studies that I only had four years of scholarship funding so I worked very hard taking the maximum course load each semester such that I was able to complete undergraduate requirements in one less year, making the total time needed for me to complete my studies in five years instead of six.
“My college does not offer any financial aid for graduate school students who are not permanent residents or citizens of the United States, so to pay for my tuition expenses last semester my mother had to work extremely hard to procure a loan, and she is unable to get another one to pay for this semester.”
Fulfilling my dream
De Souza is willing to give back to T&T. She chose her field so she could contribute to the development of the public health sector in T&T. “Becoming a physical therapist meant a lot to me. “Physical therapy is a lot more than just putting ultrasound on a sprained ankle or rehabilitating sports injuries. “It covers any area where people need to return to their prior level of function.”
De Souza’s thirst for success has a lot to do with her coming from a single-income household. Her father died when she was six and her mother worked to support Taila and her sister. She said, “Last year, when my NCAA eligibility ran out, my mother made the ultimate sacrifice and took out another mortgage on her home to come up with the funds for last semester, maxing out her loan capacity.
“She has recently become ill and requires an invasive surgery this month for diagnostic purposes. “What terrifies me the most is that if my mother does not recover well enough, her ability to continue working would be decreased and if I am unable to complete my studies and repay the loan then she could lose her home.”
For more info: [email protected] or 908-456-6482
‘She has potential’ Minister writes to Sport and Culture Fund
Sunday Guardian provided Sport Minister Anil Roberts with copies of De Souza’s letter for funding, bill ledger and her unofficial transcript on Tuesday. Roberts did not give a promise but said he would look into her file. Contacted on Friday, Roberts said after reviewing her documents he wrote a letter of recommendation to the chairman of the Sport and Culture Fund.
He requested an urgent response, that hopefully should come this week. “She has shown initiative and already raised about four per cent of the funds through her funding project. “I believe she is someone with potential.” He thanked the Sunday Guardian for bringing the issue to his attention and praised De Souza for her efforts.
“I wish her all the best and hope more people will venture into this field because as we move forward we want our nationals to return home and serve in different capacities.”
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