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Community members in Julian organize scholarship fund for student dealing with incredible loss

Abigail Yenawine lost both her mother & father in the past year.
Posted at 6:40 AM, Jul 13, 2023

JULIAN, Calif. (KGTV) – The town of Julian is rallying around a young woman who’s gone through a tremendous amount of loss as she prepares to head off to college.

“The past year for me has definitely been a roller coaster,” said Abigail Yenawine.

For Yenawine, life’s been anything but simple. Last July she lost her mother, Jackie, to leukemia.

“My mom was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. She did anything and everything to take care of me and to take care of my dad,” said Yenawine.

As she was coping from the loss of her mother, Abigail learned an hour before her high graduation ceremony her father, Darrell, died in a car crash this June.

“When I found out that he ended up passing away, I remember just collapsing into my best friend’s arms,” Yenawine said. “I found out an hour before our graduation ceremony.”

A moment that was unimaginable.

“I turned, I collapsed, and I was like ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do.’ Like with college, I didn’t think I was going to be able to purse college.”

That’s when those from the town of Julian stepped up to help.

“We were here when we received the news. And so, our first thought is what can we do?” said Kim Simas.

Kim Simas is with Backcountry Communities Thriving, a Julian-based non-profit that works with San Diego’s rural communities. She and others are now working to accomplish a goal, help and raise donations for Abigail.

“It’s going towards helping Abigail just start a fresh new future and to have that ability to not worry about having her college paid for,” said Simas.

“It makes me feel like I have a steady ground beneath me,” said Yenawine.

Yenawine will be attending University of California Merced in the fall.

In a time where that steady ground could’ve easily cratered around her, Yenawine’s words of thanks are simple.

“I don’t know what I would’ve done without all of the help I’ve gotten from everyone around here,” said Yenawine.

ABC 10News asked Abigail what she thought her parents would feel and think about all of the help and support she is receiving.

“Honestly, I feel like would be so thankful for it,” Yenawine said. “And I feel they’re up there and just smiling down on me and being like, ‘Okay. She’s going to be okay.’”

If you or anyone you know what’s to donate to the fund supporting Yenawine, you can head to