Gabby, a single mother of five, came to our office in tears. She had just been released from prison, was about to lose permanent custody of her children and didn’t have a plan.
She told us there was a court hearing in two weeks and the judge was going to sign the paper to permanently sever her parental rights.
We couldn’t help her with her court case, but we could help her with herself.
“Have you ever considered college? Let’s fill out a FAFSA (free application for federal student aid). Sit down and we’ll do it right now.”
When we finished we challenged her to go out to the community college, talk to an advisor and see what her options were.
The next day Gabby burst into our office with a smile on her face.
“I’m now a full time college student! I start classes on Monday.”
This is significant. With this one act, Gabby’s perspective changed. This decision changed the people she associated with, the way she would learn to think and opened countless doors.
Several weeks later she stopped in with a court update.
“I went to court and the judge asked what was going on in my life and I told him I was a full time college student. He asked to see my schedule and then he said, ‘I’m not going to sign this document today. This is a major step in a different direction. Come back in two months and let’s see where you are.’”
We can’t always change our circumstances but we can always choose to be better people.
Gabby went on to make honors, tutor other students in math, win a full scholarship to a prestigious engineering college and regain custody of all five of her children.