On August 5, 2021, the day MaKayla Cook finished packing her bags and set out for her sophomore year at Appalachian State University, her mother unexpectedly passed away. Just two weeks before her passing, MaKayla’s mother had lost her job, and with it, all her employer-provided benefits, including life insurance. MaKayla paid for her mother’s funeral with money she had saved throughout high school, and friends and family pulled resources to help with other immediate expenses.
To continue her college career, MaKayla applied for the Life Lessons Scholarship founded by the consumer educating non-profit Life Happens. This scholarship program provides financial support to college-bound seniors and college students who have experienced the death of a parent or guardian with little to no life insurance.
To date, Life Happens has awarded more than $2.5M among 750+ students.
When leadership at Quility learned about Life Happens’ Life Lessons Scholarship Program, they partnered with the non-profit and became a corporate scholarship sponsor. With great care, Quility corporate staff members selected MaKayla Cook as the first recipient of the Quility Life Lessons Scholarship.
This collaboration with Life Happens, and subsequent friendship with MaKayla, has been a labor of love for Whit Zeh, Quility’s Senior Director of Corporate Well Being and Community Outreach.
“These days,” says Zeh, “receiving a college education is a huge financial burden for many families. I cannot begin to imagine the added financial hardship of losing a parent, with little to no life insurance, while simultaneously navigating the cost of higher education. The Life Happens scholarship program offers both an incredible way to support students who have suffered loss, and an opportunity to remind everyone about the importance of life insurance. MaKayla has shown grace and perseverance that is, and will continue to be, a wonderful lesson in life for us all. We are truly grateful to Life Happens for creating such an impactful program and we look forward to supporting many more students in the years to come.”
MaKayla’s success in the face of hardship is the product of her resilient spirit and determination. Today, as she continues her walk with grief, she also pushes forward, working full-time in addition to her coursework at Appalachian State.
As a corporate sponsor, Quility will financially support MaKayla for one full academic year.
You can learn more about applying for a scholarship, making a donation or becoming a corporate sponsor by visiting the Life Lessons Scholarship Program.
You can also explore the many ways Quility serves its communities through sustainable engagement by reviewing Quility’s Impact.