Four single mothers in Dallas have proved that education is never out of reach. They were recognized for their collegiate achievements on Saturday at the Buckner Family Pathways graduation celebration.
“The graduation ceremony was a huge milestone for these moms,” said Cynthia Rentie, program manager for Family Pathways. “By completing the program with such success they are proving both to themselves and to their children that they can achieve great things. It’s exciting to see where they’ll go in this next stage of life.”
Two Buckner Family Place graduates shared their inspiring stories and encouragement for this year’s graduating mothers. Kat Armstrong, successful Dallas entrepreneur and founder of Baby Bowtie, was as the keynote speaker and provided encouragement through the story of Lydia in the New Testament.
Read about the graduates below:
'Buckner was the first time my son had his own bed'
When my son and I came to the doors of Buckner, we had nothing but each other. We were living in a homeless shelter and were looking for a new beginning. Through the grace of God, Buckner Family Pathways provided that to us.
While at Buckner Family Pathways, I enrolled at Asher College and started my certificate program. During the course of my schooling, I started working in the ER at Baylor Medical Center of Garland with ECI and maintained full-time employment. Shortly after, I graduated at Asher College with a 4.0 GPA and was a student speaker of the Asher College Graduation Ceremony.
Having the blessing of being at Buckner is the reason my son and I were able to get out of the shelter and into a beautiful place that I could call my home. Living at Buckner was the first time my son had his own bed and Buckner helped me provide anything my son could ever want or need.
Being here was the reason I was able to get through school and be a stronger mother that my son needs me to be.
Being here with many other women in similar shoes as mine helped me grow and see that I was not alone.
Today my son and I are happy and healthy, living in our own apartment, working hard every day to do better. I have Buckner to thank for helping me every step of the way through my journey. Thank you so much Buckner for providing a new beginning for me and my son.
'We must let go of what we don't want to make room for something better'
Like many people, I write “to-do lists.” For a long time, I had given up on a lot of those things on the list.
Two years ago, I loaded a U-Haul and headed to Dallas, not knowing what to expect yet determined to make the best of whatever Buckner had to offer. The moment I met Ms. Cynthia, I just knew everything would be OK and the moment we walked into our new apartment, I knew this is where we were supposed to be. I started classes, joined Phi Theta Kappa and I made the dean’s list each semester.
Buckner allowed me to do my internship in the foster care program. I earned an associate degree in social work. The thing that surprised me most was that I wanted to do well just as much for Buckner as for myself. While the future is unknown, I do hope to earn a bachelor's degree. My experiences have taught me we must let go of what we don’t want to make room for something better and that kindness is our most powerful tool for healing ourselves and the world. It’s as simple as that.
This program allowed me to finally finish that to-do list I wrote long ago. I am forever grateful for the consistent kindness, generosity, encouragement and support of everyone here. Thank you for believing in me and helping me find a way: A way to a better future for Tyler and me. And of course, one that has a new and exciting “to-do list.”
'Buckner feels like home'
Ana E. Mallory
Buckner Family Pathway has helped me tremendously in every step of my way. Buckner provided me with a safe home to live with my daughter and this allowed me to focus on my studies and work part time. Furthermore, Buckner has helped me with scholarships, financial training and has given me a big list of resources to ensure I have a place to stay once I exit the program. This program has made a huge impact in my life.
In addition, the staff and volunteers have gone above and beyond in helping me reach my goals and making me feel like home. I am tremendously thankful to have come across Buckner and I am looking forward to the time where I can give back the wonderful help that I received.
I am currently attending Mountain View College to earn an associate degree in nursing. In December 2014, I graduated with an associate degree in science from Brookhaven College. Once I complete my studies at Mountain View College I will work at a hospital and continue my studies at Texas Women’s University to become a pediatric nurse practitioner. My long-term goal is to serve the underprivileged children and minority population while helping them reach a high state of well-being.
'I am forever grateful'
I earned an associate degree in science at North Lake College and was hired by El Centro College to be a supplemental instructor for chemistry, anatomy and physiology and microbiology. I will complete my registered nursing degree at El Centro College by 2016 and I am currently working at Parkland Hospital as a student nurse in the Emergency Services Department. I am a member of both Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
Without Family Pathways, none of my achievements would have happened. This program provided the mental, spiritual and emotional foundation necessary for me to embark on this journey of becoming successful. It also allowed me to help my community through my studies in healthcare and programs I help with such as adult literacy, ESL, etc. The program also allowed me the financial ability to be able to focus on my children while maintaining school and a job, thus permitting me to be a healthy, wholesome person inside and outside of my home. I am forever grateful to the coordinators, advisors and management that surrounded me with unconditional love and support.