They will arrive at La Sierra University to begin college this fall from locales that are 3,200 miles apart. And although they will be far from their homes, Domonique Douglas and Krista Dufala, this year’s Presidential Scholarship award recipients, have faith that God is directing their journeys and their plans to continue serving others.
Douglas and Dufala respectively hail from Pembroke, Bermuda, and San Jose, Calif. While maintaining strong academic performances, they have acted on empathic impulses inspired by circumstances, and both took steps to establish charitable organizations and pursue causes close to their hearts. At La Sierra, Douglas will major in health care management and pre-medicine toward becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon. Dufala will study neuroscience, aiming for a career in pediatrics or neurosurgery.
Dufala, whose parents adopted her from an orphanage in the Philippines when she was 22 months old, took those first steps toward purpose at the tender age of 6 when she inspired a fundraiser at her school to pay for a sweets party at her former orphanage. The school fundraiser was successful and led to others impacting orphanages in different countries. The project, “Sweets for the Holidays,” also fueled the formation of a nonprofit called KRIS, Kids Rise Inspire Soar, which raises funds for orphanage playgrounds, new orphanage campuses, and biennial missions aid trips. It functions under a board of directors with Dufala as founder and her mother, Lirio Dufala, as co-founder, president, and chief executive officer.
The last two years of Douglas’ high school experience brought stresses and trauma through the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden loss of a close friend as the result of a vehicle accident. Two days after her friend’s death, Douglas helped initiate the “Pain into Purpose” community activism group to bring focus on the importance of road safety in Bermuda. Through social media and a newspaper article, they launched the campaign with a call for people to dress in shades of blue on Jan. 17, 2020, “as a symbol of solidarity and a renewed commitment for road safety,” she wrote.
A “blue wave” ensued around the country, Douglas said, and the enthusiastic response inspired the creation of a nonprofit that furthers awareness of the need to practice safe driving toward saving lives. “I was so glad to be a part of this organization that also helped heal my heart and the heart of others,” said Douglas.
By Darla Martin Tucker