Life has certainly been busy for me since coming to Berkeley College. Working hard to build an attractive resume, it now lists a number of academic achievements. I am a member of Phi Theta Kappa and Alpha Sigma Lambda, served as President of the Law and Justice Club in fall of 2013 and was lead prosecutor for Berkeley College’s 2014 mock trial. As an active student in the Honors Program, I placed first in academics and second in volunteer service at the Woodland Park Campus during the fall 2014 quarter. I am currently working towards receiving my Bachelor degree, and have completed my Associate degree with a 4.0 GPA. Currently, I serve as Editor-in-Chief to the campus-wide publication, Berkeley Bold.
Achieving what I have hasn’t been easy as certain personal challenges have made it difficult for me. I am currently a single mother with a young son at home. The financial challenge of divorce and custody conflicts have had me representing myself in various sectors of the court system. I have also been forced to learn and maneuver through complicated state social assistance programs all on my own.
Such an experience has fueled my goal to better address, and amend a number of laws in family court. I am also in the process of working to draft a document for legislation with the intent that it will become law. The legal system is failing. Laws are created and court orders given with little or no consequences to those who wish to willfully defy them. It is my intention to continue to be a voice advocating for those who fall victim to abuse, even at the hands of an unjust justice system. Children are suffering needlessly. Non-physical domestic violence is real, and the silent beating must end.
Being a mother of seven children has seen me volunteering, mentoring, and just plain working hard. For over 20 years I elected to home-educate my children, instilling in them strong skill sets in the areas of critical thinking, good communication, and character development. I raised my children with the belief that to live for a cause greater than yourself is what makes life worth living.
Initially I began volunteering in the late 1980’s as a childbirth educator and while living overseas in the early 2000’s served Israeli immigrants and international volunteers as a lay midwife. Going back to college was the farthest thought from my mind. I believed it was too late for me to obtain a college education, and, honestly, didn’t believe I possessed what it would take.
In March of 2013, this belief began to change. While volunteering at an event outside of Berkeley College, I was introduced to Gail Okun, the Associate Provost. Shortly thereafter, I decided to reach out to Gail and inquire about the possibility of available job openings at Berkeley. For the second time that year, I was facing the challenge of being homeless and was hoping to secure work. Instead, Gail encouraged me to consider going back to school. She immediately set me up with Michael Lincoln, Director of Admissions, where I took the entry test. When the test results came back and I saw how high my scores were, I stood there and wept for joy. The realization that I could go to college and do well, was for me, a dream come true!
I’ll never forget – it was Easter weekend and my son and I just moved into St. Peter’s Haven housing for the homeless. School was starting that week; it helped to keep my focus positive during such a difficult time. Susan Barschow was Director of the financial aid department on campus at the time. She purchased all of my school supplies for the entire year out of her own pocket. Susan and Michael Lincoln always kept their doors open to me whenever I felt overwhelmed – which was quite often! They were my mom and dad, especially that first quarter. I realize that I could not have achieved any of this without all the support and encouragement I continually receive from the professors and staff here at Berkeley College.
In life, even though we experience loss and suffering, we can still be blessed. Faith in God, hope in the future and love for our fellow man are all foundational pillars in my life. Although I am far from perfect, I realize that my belief in the One who is perfect carries me through my hardships and keeps bringing me back to the path I am meant to follow. William Shakespeare said, “Nothing is so common-place as to wish to be remarkable.” I believe this to be true. We all want to believe that somehow, in this life, we can make a difference – and that for it, we will be remembered. I know I do. If there is one thing I want others to believe after getting to know me, it’s that, if I can do it, so can you. It is my greatest desire that this be the legacy I leave behind for my children.