#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller


Dawn Velasco, 39, of Sarasota, FL

Dawn Velasco A single mother of two daughters, she works full-time while studying in the pre-nursing program at Manatee Community College, pursuing her goal of becoming a registered nurse. Working as a team, Dawn and her daughters have made many sacrifices to help pay for Dawn’s schooling, cutting out the extras, like cell phones and eating out and agreeing to take the bus when possible.

Dawn had a wake-up call that she was a role model for her children when her younger daughter stated in class that she wanted to grow up and be a waitress like her mom. Dawn realized that “What I do has an impact on the aspirations they formulate for themselves. I sat down that evening after she was in bed and thought about how my life had strayed so far from my childhood dreams. I realized that it is never too late to go back to school and still fulfill those dreams that were still tucked safe and sound in my heart.

“My children and I know that this time of sacrifice is for the greater benefit of us all,” Dawn confided. “We will be more financially sound. I will get that opportunity to have a rewarding career as I have always dreamed of having, and I will teach my children by example that anything is attainable if you are willing to do the work and give it your best shot.”

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