A 10-year-old became a defender of her 9-year-old sister when violence and abuse, and her biological mother’s unwillingness to protect the child and her sister, forced them to leave the home.
Jeimmy Grande, California Baptist University senior political science major, grew up in Columbia with 11 older brothers and one younger sister.
Grande left when she was 10 years old, taking her little sister with her. They spent a few months in foster homes, then moved to an orphanage with at least 150 other children.
“You get used to it,” Grande said about the orphanage. “You don’t think about the future.”
Grande said the last time she saw her mother was when she was signing papers to give Grande and her sister up for adoption. She said she originally resented her mother, but in time realized she was doing the best she could under the circumstances.
In 2006, at 15 years old, Grande said her luck changed as she and her sister were adopted.
Grande said her adoptive parents asked her and her sister if they wanted to be adopted.
At Grande’s lowest point she said she was alone and afraid, not knowing if she would be able to handle the changes taking place in her life. Grande said after she made God real in her life, she was able to let her past go.
“It’s important to understand that life is not guaranteed to be a smooth ride,” Grande said. “You have to take the good with the bad.”
Those who know Grande said she lives to serve others.
David Maupin, a friend and mentor of Grande’s, explained her service to others as having unconditional love, a selflessness exemplified in powerful actions, such as when, at 21 years old, she chose to donate her kidney to her friend
Dr. Daniel Skubik, CBU professor of law, ethics and humanities, said Grande has a relevant perspective in life.
“Having her among us is a very valuable corrective that requires us to stop and think about who we are as Christians,” Skubik said.
Grande said she plans on helping women in difficult situations.
“Ultimately my goal is to work for a non-profit that focuses on helping women and children who have been victims of human trafficking,” Grande said. “Trying to rescue, trying to protect them and trying to integrate them into a free life.”