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Jacob D Oden Character - Citizenship Scholarship

Well, my name is Jacob.  The type of person I am is a whole different ball game...I think of myself as an introvert functioning daily as an extrovert...I try to be a humble and thoughtful person, although sometimes I miserably fail.  I do enjoy helping people though.  It gives me a sense of pride in myself that I don't get anywhere else."  —Jacob Oden

These are Jake's words, written about himself as an assignment at school almost exactly a year before he was killed in a car accident. If you were to look inside of his journal, you would see these quotes, which he read often:

 “It doesn’t matter if you win as long as you give everything in your heart.”
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. What I can’t accept is NOT TRYING.”
“You had a purpose before anyone else had an opinion.” 
“Don’t count the days.  Make the days count.”
“Give your best in offering.”

 Jacob was gifted academically, a dedicated athlete, and had a richly beautiful bass singing voice.  He also overcame struggles with depression, anxiety, and self-harm.  Because he understood how difficult such struggles were, he began to seek out other teens who struggled and offered encouragement and support.  He began making survivor bracelets and giving them to people as a show of faith, telling them that if he could find his way out of dark into the light, they could too.  For weeks after Jacob’s death, his mom got personal messages on various social media sites from other teens across the nation saying things like: 

“You don’t know me but Jacob….
 ...helped my through my depression.”
...talked me through my anxiety attacks.”
…helped me stop cutting.” 
...talked to me when I wanted to commit suicide.”
...was always there when I needed someone.”
...always encouraged me and would yell to me, ‘You got this!’”
...brought me back to God.”

 

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