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One woman's story of turning struggle into success

By: Jordan Vilines Email
By: Jordan Vilines Email

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) It’s a story about perseverance, a story about overcoming the odds and a story centering around Kayla Kinker, who has faced struggles many of us cannot comprehend.

“We would sometimes go extended periods of time without basic utilities like gas and electric or even water,” Kayla Kinker explained to us.

Kinker grew up in northern Kentucky with her mother, living in an environment she calls “unstable.”

She says sometimes they didn’t know where they were going to sleep that night or where her next meal was going to come from.

During the summer before her senior year of high school, her life changed.

“When it became too much to handle, there was a counselor at my high school who said let me just make one call for you.”

That call was to the Welcome House, a homeless shelter for women and children located in Covington, where Kinker would spent her senior year.

It was there that her case manager helped her move onto the next step—college.

“Berea College is an incredible institution especially for students who come from low income and they provide full tuition for anyone who is smart enough to get accepted... or smart enough to apply.”

Kinker met her husband while studying at Berea College and after they graduated, they embarked on the next step together.

“I used to dream that I was accepted to medical school and wake and realize it was just a dream. Then I would realize all over again that it wasn’t a dream and that I actually did get accepted.”

The couple just completed their first semester at UK Medical School but Kinker's focus never strayed too far from what her next step will be.

“My long term goal is to open up a community health center in one of these undeserved regions.”

Her life goal is to give back because she says her ability to turn adversity into accomplishment has only been possible by the helping hands of others.

“Sometimes we don't realize how much potential we have to change someone's life so I just can’t wait to play a role in helping someone else change their life.”

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