Growing up, Joyce Rasing, Class of 2015, did not know her father. And for years, she lived in an abusive household with her mother and stepfather. When she was about to graduate high school, she experienced parental abandonment. Rasing was able to stay with her grandparents for a while, but was soon homeless. The weekend just before her first semester at Temple, she was finally able to secure housing.
Charges against Rasing’s stepfather were filed, and he went to court eventually. At the end of the first semester of her freshman year, the verdict was announced; in the summer of 2011, he was sentenced to 12 to 24 years in prison.
Rasing’s adversity has fueled a passion for helping others that extends from studying political science to dedicating her time to several organizations across Philadelphia. She tutors math at a women’s shelter, serves as a hotline counselor and directs a site for an SAT-prep program for low-income high school students.
“It has been a long road,” Rasing said. “Finding opportunities around the city to give back is a part of the healing process.”
In May 2011, Rasing was awarded the SIG (Straw into Gold) Scholarship, endowed by Ronnyjane Goldsmith, CLA ’68, ’70, ’82. That award is given to a student in the College of Liberal Arts who has lost one or both parents, “in order that their personal dreams and professional aspirations may come true.” Rasing says that after struggling for so long, receiving the scholarship was an immeasurable gain.
“The scholarship alleviates a lot of stress for me,” Rasing said. “With that and my state grants, I don’t have to worry about tuition payments.
“Why Ronnyjane gives is so inspiring,” Rasing continued. “Despite her own hardships, she’s been able to move on and move up, and to help others. I hope I can be like her one day.”
After Rasing graduates in February 2015, she plans to use her political-science degree to begin a career in public service, following in Goldsmith’s footsteps of giving back.
For those who might be living through a situation like Rasing’s, she offers some advice: “Surround yourself with individuals who want to see you succeed and will motivate you to keep going for whatever it is you really want. And don’t forget to pass that favor on to others.”