Our 2019 Scholarship Fund
Veteran, Mother, Daughter of Marine
Pursuing Master’s of Social Work, West Chester University, West Chester, PA
Lisa’s father entered the Marine Corps at age 17 to serve in the Vietnam War. He sustained a head injury which resulted in a traumatic brain injury. Through rehabilitation, he learned to walk and talk again. He suffered from PTSD, experiencing depression, flashbacks, anxiety, nightmares, and headaches. Socially, he withdrew from friends and family. He went on, as so many veterans do, to marry and have 4 children. Lisa is the youngest of his 4 children. She describes “walking around on egg-shells” as children, fearing their father and experiencing behaviors that they couldn’t fully understand as children. She grew up under the full effects of PTSD, with a father who struggled greatly. She describes how her family struggled to find resources to support her father in his journey living with PTSD.
In 2010, unfortunately Lisa lost her father at the young age of 64 due to direct impacts from the TBI and PTSD. Lisa describes that while the loss of her father weighs heavily on her soul, she finds comfort in knowing that she will be able to help others the way she wishes help was given to her family. She has been determined to make a difference in the lives of veterans and those struggling, like her father did for so long.
Lisa began her accomplished professional career over 20 years ago by enlisting in the Air Force, where she served as a paralegal, followed by serving as a property manager. She has recently shifted her career focus to serving those in need. She has provided case management services to homeless individuals transitioning into the workforce, has provided 1-on-1 assistance to children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders in the school setting, and is currently serving as a Substance Abuse Counselor where she counsels and supports individuals with opiod addiction.
While working full-time, she also is a student at West Chester University pursuing a Master’s of Social Work. She is in the home stretch and expects to graduate in May 2020. She is determined to promote and provide services to veterans in need of substance use treatment options. As a veteran herself, she says she understands how vulnerable and remarkably underserved veterans are as a population.
Further, on top of her job and coursework, she is a single mother to 2 incredible boys. She is very active and engaged in her community of Coatesville. To say that Lisa has a strong work ethic is an understatement.
Lisa describes community as “a familiar and comfortable place, not always a physical place, but rather, a place of being. In a community, you are among “family” and you feel secure and safe. Each person who makes up the community contributes in their own way. Everyone works together to build the community and make it a stronger unit.”
Army Wife, Dedicated Supporter of Veterans
Pursuing Master’s of Social Work, West Chester University, West Chester, PA
Ishell met her husband in high school, and they started dating right after he joined the service in the United States Army. She has seen him serve since he was just 17 years old. In 2013, her then fiancé was deployed to Afghanistan. Having been together since they were teenagers, Ishell saw the start difference between the person he was before he was deployed, and the person he was when he returned. While she was eternally grateful for his safe return, they both found his journey back to civilian life to be very challenging. They were planning a wedding – a typically happy activity for most couples – which they found a struggle. He struggled with loud noises, and crowded places. As the years went by, it seemed that more and more symptoms and struggles were arising. Her husband opened up to her at one point and shared some of his traumatic experiences.
Ishell was so compelled by his experiences and his struggles that she then chose to dedicate her life to helping others in similar situations through a career in clinical social work, focusing on the military community. Ishell said, “he has done so much serving our country that the least I can do is serve him to the best of my ability as a wife, and serve the military community even more once I am done with my master’s degree.”
Ishell is a Philadelphia resident, and she is currently a student at West Chester University enrolled in a Master’s in Social Work Graduate Program. She is in the home stretch and is graduating in May 2020. She intends to pursue a career in Clinical Social Work for the Military Community.
She has performed work within the Philadelphia Youth Network, providing emotional support for residents, has served as a Substance Use Preventive School Counselor at The Bridge Way School in Philadelphia, and is currently working at a VA Medical Center performing her social work internship where she is focusing on providing support and services to veterans with unique physical, behavioral, and environmental challenges.
“As an Army wife who has had firsthand experience with the types of hardships, and transitions services members and their families face like post traumatic stress, anxiety, financial hardships, and many more, I want to dedicate my career helping those who have helped my family and I through these unique challenges that come with serving our country.”
Daughter of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Zaza, who ended his life in 2019
Colorado Springs, CO
Pursuing Pre-Medical Degree with focus on Neuroscience, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO
Michal Zaza is an incredibly smart, dedicated, resilient student from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Sadly, Michal’s father, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Zaza, committed suicide in their home earlier this year, in front of her mother. He was 55 year old at the time of his death, and according to Michal, he “hid his post traumatic stress disorder and depression up until his last day”.
Michal said “I am experiencing the depth and complexity of life, after the death of my lovely father this year, in which it makes me more mature, simple, and humble with devotion to serve and help others.”
Incredibly, in spite of the tragic loss of her father, Michal continued her schooling and finished her senior year with a 4.13 GPA. Michal is a freshman at the University of Colorado majoring in pre-medicine with a focus in neuroscience.
The Weekly Fight scholarship is critical to her ability to enter and stay in college, giving her some “breathing room” to focus on her studies and her family.
We all wish that Michal still had her father, but we at The Weekly Fight are humbled and honored to provide this support to her and her family in their time of need.
Cheerleader, Athlete, Active in Community & Church
Person of Special Abilities (Downs Syndrome)
Daughter of Vietnam Veteran
Pursuing Healthcare Certificate, Southeaster University, Lakeland, Florida
Mary’s father is a Vietnam Veteran who has lived with PTSD for almost 50 years, dedicating his life and career after Vietnam to veterans through his social work at the VA. He coped with post traumatic stress disorder by helping other veterans and soldiers.
Mary is 20 years old, and was born with Down Syndrome. Her parents have dedicated their lives to helping her overcome obstacles. In high school, Mary was very active with cheerleading, clubs, and volunteer activities in school, as well as church activities and Special Olympics.
With the help of this scholarship, she has begun a 2-year Certificate Program in Healthcare at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida where she is living in the dorm and experiencing college like any other student. Her goal is to help other young people with Down Syndrome just as her dad helped other soldiers and veterans.