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Sometimes believing in yourself is the hardest part of the journey to success. This was the case for Stephanie Hunt who  found the ACE program from a friend who was enrolled .She had decided that continuing her education was a way to get her life back on track after it had been derailed by addiction in young adulthood. Even with more than a decade of sobriety under her belt, Stephanie wasn’t sure she could do it. ‘This is crazy me — going to college now —  at my age. Last time I was in school, I wasn’t really in school, I was in addiction.”   

Willing to put a toe in the water, Stephanie called for more information about the program. From that first conversation, site coordinator Judith Ortiz was a source of support and encouragement. “You can do this!” It was this level of caring and encouragement from Ms. Ortiz and her instructors that sustained Stephanie on her journey right up to graduation and in spite of health challenges along the way. “They helped me not give up on myself.” 

Within the first year, Stephanie exceeded her own expectations by earning a place on the President’s list. “When I opened that letter, I just started crying. I didn’t know I could have that level of success in school.” Stepanie was later inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and graduated in 2017 with an Associate Degree in Human Services. 

Several years earlier, Stephanie couldn’t imagine being where she is now. She did the hard work of recovery, founded on the love and acceptance she received from her church family and spiritual parents, Dr. Hal T. and Madelin M. Best. Accepting this love helped Stephanie to love and accept herself. This radical self acceptance fueled her journey to the successes in life she enjoys today. She has created a safe and secure home, renewed broken family relationships, and earned a promotion in her career field. She was working as a Peer Support Specialist at Aquila of Delaware when her supervisor took note of her unique blend of natural compassion and high quality program management. Now serving as Housing Manager of a woman’s home with six staff reporting to her, Stephanie creates transitional plans and provides informal group and  individual therapy for residents. Her life experience equips her to build trust with and inspire her clients at a level that surpasses other staff. As a next step, Stephanie is taking classes to become a Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor and aims to join the therapeutic counseling team. She is also pursuing a bachelor’s degree from Lincoln University with an anticipated December graduation.  

“God put people in my life to teach me how to love myself; now I do the same for others because I know their pain. I tell them recovery is possible.Your life can be different. And YOU are worth it.’”