Alumni - Seville, Florida
In 2005, Joy faced a crossroads. She was working as an office manager and unhappy in her position. Joy says, “I went to work, went home, and hated every day. Then a friend asked me, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’” She was speechless when she realized she had no goals beyond tomorrow. Driving home that day, Joy expressed her aspirations in the comfort of her car, alone. She decided something had to change. The next day she enrolled at University of Phoenix but didn’t tell a soul until she finished her first class. “Once I received the grade for my first class, though, I was too excited to keep it a secret any longer. I called my mother and told her that I was in college. ‘Mom, I’m not joking, I really am.’” She started setting goals. She became the first of her parents’ children to earn a degree, and she graduated with a 4.0 GPA. With one degree under her belt, Joy plans on earning her doctoral degree in public health. She wants to pay forward her education to her sister Janetta.
Recipient - Williamsport, Maryland
“Life is not always easy. Some people seem to understand this better than others do, and some understand something deeper: if life were easy, more people would be good at it,” explains Joy. “My sister has been my inspiration in ways she will never understand. Her dogged determination and steadfast courage in the face of obstacles that would quell the hearts of most, has not only made her one of my heroes, but also a hero to several other people who know her.” From the time she was a child, Janetta has taken on the responsibility of an adult. Money was tight so she had a paper route and babysat to help her family. When she discovered she was going to be a mother, Janetta set out to be the best mother she could, on her own terms, like everything else in her life. She graduated from a Medical Assistant program and later learned to drive tractor-trailer trucks. What she learned along the way was she loves to teach. Now Janetta teaches truck driving classes and wants to earn her degree in education.
Alumni Nominator and Recipient Profiles
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