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Grateful Student Works to Pay It Forward

January 2014

Shawn Adame smiling

While in high school, Shawn Adame was introduced to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Impressed by the gospel message and the Spirit he felt, Shawn took the discussions and eventually joined the Church. Later, he began to dream of serving a mission as well.

The challenge? His parents were not members, and they were not in a position to contribute financially. Shawn took out school loans and enrolled as a student at BYU-Idaho. “My biggest challenge was probably school fees,” he said. “BYU-Idaho is not expensive—in fact, it’s far from it—but I found it hard to keep up financially despite my best efforts. It was easy to feel overwhelmed.” The money he had earned from working was used towards paying for his mission.

Shawn had scrimped and saved. Eventually he served a mission in the Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission. Two years later, Shawn returned and found himself spiritually enriched and ready to continue his education.

Shawn continued to study hard, and thanks to his perseverance, the scholarship money he has received has helped cover his costs. “Not only has it provided relief and motivated me,” he said, “I have wanted to study even harder knowing that others have invested in me. I am driven to produce great results. Also, I have applied any money I earn from jobs toward paying off my school loans. I have learned so much about saving and preparing for the future.”

Doors are already opening for the psychology major through his studies. “I serve in the ADHD Mentoring Program on campus,” Shawn said. “I meet with someone with ADHD once a week and help that person in different areas where they could face challenges. We both learn so much. I also help teach life skills. I hope to continue my education in graduate school and become a marriage and family counselor.”

Whereas the BYU-Idaho student from Santa Barbara, California, is on a smoother financial path these days and his parents now members of the church, Shawn is quick to remember those who have helped him.

“I believe in paying it forward,” he said. “When I have the means later, I hope to contribute in major ways such as money and education. For now, I sacrifice for others to show my appreciation. I give people rides, have people over for dinner, and even teach them about the Church. Above all, I am their friend. This all comes back to us helping each other along the way.”

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