Angie Duncan, GED Instructor
It started as a simple question to one of our GED students: “What career are you interested in pursuing after graduation?” We ask that question of all of our students at one time or another and usually get fairly straightforward replies. But this answer stopped me in my tracks. Other students had already left for the day and my co-teacher and I were alone with her. This quiet, meek, small woman answered confidently, “I want to go into some type of law enforcement or criminal justice.” I was stunned! She didn’t quite meet the picture in my mind of an officer. Okay, I’ll just put it out there: she didn’t meet the picture in my head of someone in law enforcement AT ALL, not even as a desk clerk at a police station. Then she added that she wanted to be able to defend herself from her abusive husband, know her rights, and to help other women in her situation.
I swallowed hard as I processed what I was hearing. She poured out her heart to Ms. Libby and me. She shared how she left her husband a year ago and was working full-time and attending GED class every day so that she could continue her education and make a career change. She says she’s in a safe environment now but always has the threats from her husband swirling in her head. I made her aware of SAFE Homes and urged her to contact an attorney for legal counsel. Her cultural background complicates her life (role of a husband/wife and what is acceptable behavior), but she knows that obtaining her GED is a necessary step to reach her goal.
How grateful I am for Upstate Family Resource Center! I am thankful that I live and work in a community that strives to help our neighbors improve their lives. May we remember that the students we serve are not just numbers on an annual report but are people who are struggling and persevering in this journey we call life. I am humbled to share mine with them.