Transforming Lives at BBCC– Alicia’s story

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Alicia WallaceAlicia Wallace had two small children and no job skills when she found the courage to leave a bad situation.

She had been a stay-at-home mom for six years since graduating from high school and didn’t have any financial resources, job skills or work experience.

When she applied for TANF benefits to support her children, the WorkFirst program sent her to Big Bend Community College for computer training.

“I didn’t think college was an option for a single mother with two children,” she said.

She quickly finished computer training offered through WorkFirst and asked about going to college. With the guidance of WorkFirst mentors, she registered for fall classes in 2010.

“I made the President’s List my first quarter,” Wallace said.

To get through school she was referred to other BBCC services like the Opportunity Grant and employment and training programs. She was offered a work study position at WorkFirst.

“There were times I wanted to give up, but I knew this was something I needed to do for myself and for my children,” she said.

Wallace had mentors at WorkFirst and BBCC who helped her transform her life through education. They listened and pushed her to stay in school. They made sure she didn’t miss a class offered only once per year, so she could stay on a timely path to success and degree completion.

“I am proud I graduated with highest honors when I received my Associate in Applied Science Degree in Business Medical Office and Billing, becoming the first in my family to complete a college degree,” Wallace said.

When her mentor at WorkFirst took another position, Wallace applied and was selected as a program assistant for the newly formed Workforce Education Services program at BBCC.

When she leads orientation sessions for new students in the program, she starts by saying, “Four years ago, I was where you are now.”

“Now I have the opportunity to motivate, support, and mentor other students on their pathways to success,” she said.

She is proof to the new students that college is an option.