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Our Students

There are on average of 50 students in our program during any given time. Almost all are the first in their families to ever go to college. All lived at or below the federal definition of poverty.

Of course each has his/her own unique life story but what they have in common is that they lived in poverty and persevered through additional adversities in order to graduate from high school. Whether it was  emotional and/or physical deprivation, these teenagers and young adults have demonstrated the ability to endure and to keep believing that education is their only hope for a better life.

What was it like for them? Try imagine yourself in their shoes...

  • Always carrying an underlying fear and anxiety about the uncertainty of how you will survive
  • Your government-provided school lunch was the only meal you could count on having.
  • Knowing that you will be moving over and over again because your family will be evicted every time they can't pay the rent.
  • Whenever you are not in school, you are at work. You've never been able to participate in extracurricular activities because you needed to work as many hours as possible to help support your family. If you miss work, your family may not be able to keep the electricity on.
  • Your father has never been in your life and your mother is never around because she is working as many hours as she physically can so that your family can scrape by for another week.
  • No one has ever told you about the world of possibilities beyond what you have seen. You're not sure what to even dream about for your future.
  • You feel self conscious around the other students because you don't want them to find out how different your life is from theirs.

The best way to get to know someone is to hear about their hopes and dreams.

Here are some that our students shared:

"I have a strong passion to help children who experienced a horrible childhood like I did. I wish to fill each child with everything I lacked as a child, including encouragement, love and support."

"I want to be sure that my children live happily with no worries about a meal."

"I hope to one day be able to help my parents get a house and not worry that they will lose it. I hope that I can one day I can share my story of success with those who think there's no hope and that dreams can't come true. Hendrick has helped me so much."

"For my future I want a life that will be able to focus more on my family than my parents could.  I want a husband who is well educated who will be by my side while raising our children.  I want the family that has family game night and eats dinner together every night, not in front of the TV but at the table discussing the day's events.  I want a relationship with my children that I didn't have with my parents, and I want a marriage that will last."

"I pray for the strength to keep on a path of success, and for my life to be of a greater purpose than to just survive."

"I want to be able to become a nurse and help people in need. I would want my kids to have more than I did which means parents and guidance and a stable life."

See Their Stories for examples of individual students' stories.