#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

Leanne Wegge, Florida

The physical and emotional pain Leanne Wegge suffered as a domestic violence victim has morphed into a story of deep compassion and caring for other survivors.

“In 2001, I was doused with gasoline and burned over 67 percent of my body,” said Wegge. “I was left with years of pain, and physical, emotional, and accomplishment challenges. After all the turmoil cleared, I made a promise to myself that I would go back to school so that I could one day help women like myself that once walked down the long, lonely path of being abused.”

A social work major at Miami Dade College, Wegge volunteers for Women Protecting Women, a non-profit organization. She credits her own support system with helping her heal and encouraging her to pursue her dreams.

“I have learned that even though I was for so many years verbally, and physically assaulted, put down, and so much more . . . that it’s not okay to be treated in that manner,” said Wegge, a mother of two. “I have also learned to never underestimate my abilities to achieve what I want to achieve. I have gained the self assurance and confidence that I need in order to look people in the eye and be all that I can be.”

Wegge will use the $1,000 scholarship for tuition.

“In all my months, weeks and days of going to school and hearing other students talk about receiving scholarships, I never in a million years thought that I would ever receive one,” said Wegge. “I am so grateful for being selected that every time I think about it I get tears in my eyes.”

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