Desiree Montgomery

Hometown: Lakeland, FL

high school: Kathleen Senior High School

college: Biola University

MAJOR: History

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future..." Jeremiah 29:11, though not the most well-know bible verse, succeeds more than any other in portraying the Lord's love for his children. Although God's existence has been debated for centuries, his promise of hope seems manifested in the lives of his people ... particularly in the life of Desiree Montgomery.

The product of a broken home and a current foster care recipient, Desiree's life can only be described with one word- miracle. Raised by an alcoholic mother and disabled father during most of her childhood, she learned at an early age that life was not the picturesque fairy tale she had seen in her collection of Disney movies. Her mother died from alcoholic poisoning and left her at the age of 7 with the responsibility of becoming the "mother figure" to her two younger sisters, who were three and five years of age. Over the next few years her father, who suffered from asthma and osteo-arthritis, became increasingly abusive and neglectful. Amidst the chaos of loosing her mother, financial instability, and school transitions, Desiree had a new burden to bear ... the well-being of her sisters. Fearing for her sisters' safety, Desiree contacted the Department of Children and Families in 2005, hoping they would be able to provide a safe-haven for her and her sisters. It was during this period of time Desiree learned to rely on God for her support and guidance. This became crucial to her emotional stability after she and her sister were removed from their father's house and placed in a foster home. Although she faced both mental and emotional abuse in her new home, Desiree was able to maintain top grades in school and uphold a positive attitude to aid her younger sisters in overcoming their difficult circumstances. After a period of separation, Desiree and her sisters were all placed in the Florida Baptist Children's Home, where they currently reside. Since her relocation, Desiree has had several leadership and volunteer positions that have enabled her to give back to those who have faced circumstances similar to hers. She has served as a motivational speaker at several church activities and fundraising events for DCF children. She also works with different organizations to advocate for teens in foster care.

After she graduates, Desiree hopes to continue campaigning for underprivileged teens in foster care. Her ultimate goal is to obtain a degree in education and become a high school career counselor. Although she has faced several hardships in her life, she believes that had it not been for the circumstances God placed her in, she would have never discovered her passion for motivating and encouraging teenagers to work towards their dreams.

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