Dreams of owning a home, quality schools come true thanks to education choice scholarship

Two of Juliette and Allen Harrell’s children attend private school thanks to the Family Empowerment Scholarship Economic Options program.

Editor’s note: You can listen to a podcast reimaginED Senior Writer Lisa Buie recorded with Juliette Harrell at https://www.reimaginedonline.org/2021/09/podcasted-formerly-homeless-family-finds-a-lifeline-in-education-choice-scholarships/.

Juliette Harrell was 17 when she told her mom she was pregnant. She was promptly kicked out of her house.

A single mother herself, Juliette’s mom painted a bitter picture of Juliette’s new world.

“My mom told me my life was over. You got to take care of your kids. You can’t do anything,” she said.

Juliette agreed with only one part: She would take care of her baby. But she felt her life was not over, and she was determined to realize her dreams of completing her education, starting a business, owning a home, and raising a family in a nuclear household.

Now, 10 years after Aiden was born, Juliette has realized all but one of those goals. Her childcare business is still in the planning stages. But it will operate out of the home Juliette and her husband, Allen, own at the end of a cul de sac in Orlando, where they live with Aiden and his brothers Amar’e, 6, and Asht’n, 2.

The path to the present wasn’t easy for the Harrells, who found themselves homeless at one point. They remained on course through an unwavering belief in themselves and an education choice scholarship. The scholarship relieved some of the financial burden and allowed the Harrells to exercise their right to school choice and send Aiden and Amar’e to a private schools located within walking distance of their home.

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