Lucresia Purnell OMD Scholar, Malcolm X College


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I went back to school and that first semester was so horrible I was going to quit. One of the main reasons that it was so hard for me was because I felt selfish. As a mother, I felt like it was wrong for me to go back to school and devote so much time to studying. It wasn't until I actually got the acceptance email from OMD that I decided ‘OK if they're willing to help me keep going, I'll try.’ And that's really why I'm still in school.”

Like many others in Lucresia Purnell’s position, the motivation to attend school is often overshadowed by life’s commitments.

“With OMD, I have discovered so much about myself – I never really knew what I was capable of. Everyone needs an organization like OMD to help them to keep going.”

Lucresia knew immediately that OMD was special, and what she’s learning is opening a world of possibilities for her and her family.

“OMD is really helping me with school, but it’s also helping me as a parent. When I learn something, I bring it home to my sons and I see how it opens them up to new things. At one of the OMD sessions we watched a TED talk about the way people think and how your mind is a muscle that can continue to grow when exposed to new experiences. From that moment on, I completely changed my way of thinking and how I speak to my sons as far as their learning and their education. And I’ve seen it make a difference. Now they talk about not just earning a grade but actually learning.”

Born and raised on Chicago’s west side, Lucresia is candid when speaking about her childhood. “I’m the oldest of four children. My mother was an addict and my father wasn’t available at all. So, most of my life was really just making sure that my siblings and I were OK…that we survived.”

And it’s this upbringing that motivates her to give back once she graduates. Studying business management, Lucresia hopes to start a nonprofit devoted to helping children who are growing up in homes with an addictive parent.

“Aside from my own experience, I do volunteer work in schools and with programs through my church. People don’t realize how many children are growing up in this situation. They begin to repeat those bad habits, developing an addiction of their own or carrying that damage with them to their own families. I believe that if there was a safe haven for them to come and get proper help to deal with it when they are young, it would help to end the cycle.”

Upon reflection, Lucresia credits OMD with more than just helping her get through school.

“I have always wanted to give back to my community in some way. I just didn’t have the confidence in myself prior to joining OMD.”

Scholar Stats

83% of OMD Scholars graduated or persisted in OMD for the full academic year

24 Average age of OMD Scholars

53% of OMD Scholars are the first in their family to attend college

21% of OMD Scholars support dependents

171 of OMD Scholars belong to an Honor Society