Breaking the Cycle

**A Woman’s Choice and Necole’s Place are now one entity, BsideU For Life**

Most people think of higher education as the educational level (college) that follows the completion of a primary (elementary) and secondary (high school) education. That higher education simply includes further teaching, research, exacting applied work (e.g. in nursing school or law school) and an outlet for social interaction (e.g. fraternities, sororities) among the teenagers and young adults who attend colleges and universities across the world.

According to Poverty USA, more that 43.1 million people living in the United States lives in poverty. Amongst the highest demographics being single-parent households, led by women (povertyusa.org). To me higher education has been the most important tool in breaking the cycle of poverty. Higher education is not only about increase salary or wages, greater opportunities, and career advancements, but also personal commitment, dedication and sacrifice.

When I graduated from high school in 1992, I wasn’t really concerned about my future. Like many young people, I chose to go down all the wrong paths, thinking only about the moment, and not about the what lied ahead. I was spiritually bankrupt. I felt that I could do life on my own, and not with the help of “God”.

In 1993, at the age of 19, I had my first child. Although, I knew I would need more that just a high school diploma to be financially stable and successful, pursuing higher education was not at the top of my list of priorities. I was a single mother and it was my responsibility to provide for my child. In 2008 at the age of 34, still a single mother now with four (4) children, and pregnant with my fifth child, I rededicated my life to Christ. During this time, I visited A Woman’s Choice Resource center. On that day, I thought I would only be getting maternity clothes, but I would soon find out that I would receive so much more. Not only was I blessed by the loving kindness of staff, but also their Christ-centered mission. Upon leaving AWC, I saw information pertaining to Necole’s Place and felt eager to participate.

When I walked into the doors of Necole’s Place, I was overwhelmed with a sense of peace. It had been awhile since I had felt that way in my life. I knew this only could have been the work of “God”. Shortly after, I found myself taking full advantage of all of the life skills opportunities available at Necole’s Place, such as parenting, stress and anger management, cooking class, and personal counseling with Dr. Kaufman. I soon developed a vision of what I really wanted my family’s future to look like. More importantly what I wanted my future to look like. I began setting firm goals for myself, and returned to school to pursue an Associate Degree in Nursing. In December 2013, I graduated from Jefferson Community College with an Associate Degree in Nursing and in May 2017, I graduated from Indiana University Southeast with a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Nursing.

I believe that anyone can be “educated”. Achieving academically is one thing, but it is how a person takes the ‘know’ledge from that education and applies it to their life, while incorporating God and other life skill that makes it valuable.