While “home” for Methodist University student Leanna Jacobs might technically be in Red Springs, N.C., she has come to know home can mean multiple things and be in multiple locations.
Jacobs, a first-year student in MU’s prestigious Physician Assistant program, was recently awarded the Kameron “Kam” Dobie Friendship House Grant, which covers all housing expenses at the Friendship House in Fayetteville. She will live as a “friend resident” at the Friendship House, which provides affordable, integrated housing for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It’s a unique opportunity for a college student showing interest in healthcare, allied health, and/or human service fields to serve as a mentor and develop a stronger empathy in community living and their professional endeavors.
“I was pretty content driving back and forth to school from home,” said Jacobs. “Then, as I learned more about the opportunity, I got extremely excited to know I got (the grant). It will be such a great experience to come home to the Friendship House after school and have all of these amazing friends waiting for me.”
Jacobs, who hasn’t landed on a direct career goal – but is “leaning towards something in the psychology or orthopedic realms” – says even before the scholarship she was feeling right at “home” at MU.
“Methodist University and all of the faculty are just amazing,” she said. “They are like a second family to me, and – even though the classes are really difficult – the campus is awesome.”
The grant is named in honor of someone who will always be a part of the MU family, as well. “Kam” Dobie was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after contracting bacterial meningitis at only four weeks old, and despite her physical hurdles, visited with the students to “teach” in her own special way by attending lectures with her grandfather, Dr. William Greenwood (who teaches in the program). Through her 16 years of life and beyond, Kam’s story has demonstrated the importance of caring for those with special needs and their families to hundreds of MU graduates and through the generosity of a donor, Connie Bubon, the grant has been created.
“This is such an honor, and having the chance to meet Kam’s parents has been amazing,” Jacobs said. “I’m very thankful to be a part of such a great opportunity that I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.”
Pictured left to right are: Dr. Scott Cameron (President and Chaplain at Friendship House); Tara Hinton (Director, Regional Philanthropy, ServiceSource North Carolina); Andy Rind (Senior Vice President and Executive Director, ServiceSource North Carolina); Ardynn, Chrissy, and Hikeem Dobie (Kameron’s sister and parents); Leanna Jacobs (recipient of the scholarship); Joan and Dr. Bill Greenwood (Kameron’s grandparents).