In the month since Latoya Wells’ 21-year-old daughter was gunned down in Waco, she has joined an effort to fund scholarships that would help young people live the life her daughter was deprived of, all while raising awareness about domestic violence.
“My daughter had been in this abusive relationship for three years, so you are talking to a mother who started crying back in 2017,” Wells said.
The night after Wells’ daughter, SaKyra Young, was killed Aug. 14, police arrested her boyfriend on a murder charge, reporting a witness saw as domestic violence turned fatal.
“I hurt for her, because I knew what type of man he was,” Wells said. “So when I went there on the 14th, I knew he had taken her body away from me, but he took her life from me a long time ago.”
The Forever Young Scholarship in SaKyra Young’s name will be made available to Waco Independent School District graduates. Young graduated from Waco High School in 2017.
“She was a brave, sweet, loving young woman who had a lot going for herself,” Wells said. “She just got cut short of it by someone who was in the way of her success.”
The shooting captured the attention of Waco High School parents Tracy Guillory and Keith Guillory, who is running in the November election against incumbent Robin Houston for an at-large seat on the Waco ISD school board. Keith Guillory had met Young through a mentoring program at the high school, and he did not want her death to be the end of her story, he said.
“I went to the balloon release and the memorial for this young woman and meeting her friends and family, I went back home and told Tracy that we need to do more than that,” Keith Guillory said. “This can’t be the end of her legacy.”
The Guillorys joined Wells to found the Forever Young Scholarship, and they are seeking donations and other support to fund $5,000 scholarships.
“SaKyra wanted so bad to go to college and she tried because she was a part of the National Honor Society and she kicked butt in school doing everything she needed to do to get her education,” Tracy Guillory said. “She just never had the finances to go to college and do what she wanted to do, so we are hoping to get grant money and donations to offer more money to help seniors.”
More information about the scholarship is available at www.foreveryoungscholar.org. Applications will be posted on the site. Donations can be made through the website or at Community Ban & Trust, 1800 Washington Ave. The group also is selling Forever Young T-shirts carrying the message “Break the silence against domestic violence,” with proceeds going to support the scholarship fund.
“Domestic violence can start in high school and so we want to be able to empower young ladies and young men to feel safe to speak up about what is going on in their lives and feel comfortable to ask for help,” Keith Guillory said.
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