Where it all started…
When I was first divorced and realized that I had two boys to raise alone, I knew I needed to leave Wyoming (which is 2-weeks from everywhere ) and find somewhere that could give them the most opportunity within the budget I’d have. One of the top items on that list was how was I going to get them thru college? With a bit of investigation, and a summer traveling with my folks and their 5th-wheel trailer to actually see places that might work, the kids and I figured out that we would build our life in California. California’s community college system seemed to be the most “do-able” for tuition and opportunities to entering a good 4-year college. So we came to Fairfield. Looking back I now realize, as my boys were 5 and 8, I probably should have checked to see if California’s K-12 system was as great as community college system.
As it worked out, California’s community college system provided a better future for all of us when I went to work at the local campus. What I found there was more than a job. It was a community. As most of us learn over time, it takes a village to raise children. As we raised our families, I found that that community became our “village”. It was a blessing, as a single mother, to find that 2-parent families and I were having similar issues with our children as they grew-up. At one point some of those “villagers” offered to legally raise my boys should that need arise. Others watched over me when my Crohns’ disease came out of remission. After my dad died my boss, Bob Myers, allowed my mother to volunteer in our division for eight of last ten years of her life. The camaraderie that she found there changed the quality of her life immeasurably. There I found colleagues that became friends, and friends that became family. That “village” had a huge impact on the quality of my life – friends that have mourned with me, laughed with me, and stood by me through thick and thin.
I found my true home at the college when I went to the Physical Education and Athletics division office. My time there is why my heart truly attached to the campus. Why was it different there than at the other areas I had worked in – because many of our students looked just like my family – raised by a single parent, little or no money for college, but confident that a better future could be found through dedication, hard work, and integrity. And best of all, waiting for them was an incredible cadre of loving and giving people willing to be the mentors the students needed. Many of those students were student-athletes, some were adapted Physical Education students overcoming incredible physical hurdles to live a better life, and some just needed to know they were smart enough to dream about having a college career.
I can honestly say that I can’t even imagine what my life, and my family’s lives, would have been like without the college and those who have shared the journey with us. I was honored to be a part of the solution our society so desperately needs, and as a result of that opportunity let me say that our future is in good hands with the young people I’ve had the good fortune to work so closely with.