Several years ago my friend, Dr. Marilyn Aten, fell in love with Mari’s daughter Harlennys on a visit to Panama and wanted to send her to university. Marilyn put up a good bit of the money herself, and then asked other Panama guests that we both held in common as friends to pitch in too. The college fund was created.
Harlennys got badly derailed by an unintended pregnancy, and it’s been a bit rocky since. In the meantime, Marilyn died of cancer. She was a nurse educator and researcher, and the topic of teen pregnancy was familiar to her. I would have liked her guidance about what to do. Without that, I’ve had to use my best judgment as to what Marilyn would have wanted.
Without going into detail out of respect for this family’s privacy, I’m happy to say that all signs indicate that Harlennys will finish her program in public accounting in June, and that she will be part of a formal graduation in December. Kudos to her mother, Mari, for supporting her daughter through what has been a difficult and sometimes disappointing time as they grappled with young adult choices. And kudos to Harlennys, who has gone forward inch by inch, and will now graduate. She is a wonderful role model for her little girl, and I am very proud of her. Marilyn’s faith in Harlennys has been affirmed, and I wish my friend could be here with us in December to celebrate.