Helping a Local College Student

Every day there are cases of a mother or father who passes away prematurely — and before making a plan for such an eventuality. Often, their children are left picking up the pieces, making progress with their dreams and aspirations a daunting task.

Since 2007, New York Life has used Life Insurance Awareness Month (LIAM) as a platform to help college students who find themselves in dire straits following the loss of a parent or guardian.

On August 26, Troy Braswell, Managing Partner of the Greater Kansas City office presented Terran Boydston Walker, 20, with a $2,000 scholarship. While there, Boydston Walker discussed the additional burdens her family faces because her stepfather lacked life insurance.

“We forget that we leave our families with an extra load after we pass; life insurance helps to eliminate that stress,” Boydston Walker said. “It is essential for families to plan ahead, for tomorrow is never promised.”

Boydston Walker’s life barely began before tragedy struck for the first time: Her biological father died two months after she was born. A year later, her mother met her stepfather, who became the man in their lives and primary caregiver. “He was my family's everything,” Boydston Walker explained. On Easter morning in 2010, their lives again changed in an instant: Boydston Walker’s stepfather was killed in a car accident.

“I have dealt with the reoccurring void of a missing father for a long time,” Boydston Walker said. “My biological father’s and stepfather’s deaths have taught me how valuable life insurance can be for those remaining loved ones.”

That lesson is derived from the hardships Boydston Walker and her family have experienced since her stepfather’s passing. The first three months after he died were the hardest. Her mother’s inability to meet financial obligations almost caused her to lose her license as a practical nurse, and the family was forced to move out of their home of 13 years. Life as they knew it was slowly but surely falling apart. “I tried to take care of us as best I could but my checks were hardly enough to feed us,” Boydston Walker said. “The worst feeling in the world was seeing my mother struggle as she did.”

After graduating high school, Boydston Walker attended college. However, her inability to pay tuition or find a cosigner for a loan forced her to leave school after only one semester.

“I wonder, day to day, how I will pay for school,” Boydston Walker said. “All the money I saved went towards helping my family. I received no scholarships and because I have no credit, I couldn't get any loans. I know I will have to work extra hard to obtain my goal of going back to college. But I know it will all be worth it in the end.”

Boydston Walker’s parents always spoke of getting life insurance but never got around to it. “Life would be very different if they had,” she said. “I have to work three as times as hard, being constantly reminded that every day without life insurance is another day of hardship. I am a stronger young woman because of it.”

Even though her life has changed so drastically, Boydston Walker still sees the finish line ahead. “I am determined to learn from my hardships and allow them to push me to be a diligent and hardworking student,” she said.