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Meet Jovani.  A single mother of two from the city of Chester, Jovani was anxious about returning to school as an adult, having so much time out of the classroom. She would ask herself “Am I too old? Will I remember anything? Will I look stupid?”. But she put those negative thoughts aside and enrolled in the Human Services degree program to be a role model to her children and improve the quality of their lives. “I wanted to show them that there is more to life than running the street and hanging with your friends. Too many girls in this community get pregnant and don’t finish school. I wanted my daughter to say – if Mommy can do it, I can do it.” Her son is proud too, recognizing at his young age the challenge it is to work full time, take care of children, and go to school. “You do all that and get good grades?!”  

In addition to her children, Jovani credits her fellow students and site coordinator Andrea Mathias for providing the support she’s needed to stick with it and earn her degree. From providing supplies for class to the right encouraging words at the right time, Ms. Andrea was there. Peers organized study groups to get through classes together, and the college stepped in as well, loaning Jovani a laptop and funds for books when her car was broken into. 

In spite of the shift to remote learning necessitated by the covid-19 pandemic, Jovani is on track to graduate in December 2020. With her degree, Jovani anticipates finding a better job and upgrading her family’s housing. She also successfully founded her nonprofit this year, an advocacy organization for young survivors of abuse called ‘Be Your Kids’ Voice,’ winning a vision entrepreneur of the year award in the process. 

Thank you Jovani for sharing your story, and congratulations on your upcoming graduation!