Blazing a Trail: Palestine Small, GlaxoSmithKline Opportunity Scholar

Oct 3, 2012 12:00 PM ET

Blazing a Trail: Palestine Small, GSK Opportunity Scholar

Palestine suffered neglect at the hands of her severely dysfunctional family. She was placed adopted by a relative who beat her and shot birds to show what would happen to Palestine if she told anyone of the abuse. At nine years old she was given alcohol to help her tolerate the beatings. At 12, she moved in with another relative, who shot her, and at 14, she was sent to live with her alcoholic father and suffered neglect and abuse. Over the next few years she was beaten and raped and began a drug addiction that lasted decades. By her late teens, Palestine was in the judicial system, often homeless, and sometimes suicidal. Finally, Triangle Residential Options For Substance Abusers (TROSA) helped change her life. Palestine says she is no longer a victim. Today, she is sober, part of a prison ministry, and a mentor to college students. Palestine will use her GSK Opportunity Scholarship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to study religion and sociology.  Eventually, she hopes to pursue a master’s degree in behavioral health and devote her life to helping addicts turn their lives from defeat to victory.

Hear Palestine tell her story.