“My potential will carry me to a great place.”
Because so many of the women who attend Caroline Center come from similar backgrounds and have similar life experiences, the tendency to lump them all together under one label might be considered understandable. Understandable perhaps…but wrong. Because, when you sit down and get to know any one of these wonderful women, you realize pretty quickly – and not surprisingly – that each one is profoundly and uniquely individual. Each has her own, deeply personal Story to Tell, her own Take on Life, and her own Hopes & Dreams. Depending on where she is in life, those dreams have a Plan of Action attached to them. More or less. Take 24-year-old, Britley, a member of the current class of Pharmacy Technician trainees.
Like many of her classmates, Britley is a single mother. She is a high school graduate and hopes to complete college one day. She believes she would make an excellent teacher and would eventually like to get a degree in education. For the time being, she is pursuing certification as a pharmacy tech, something else she believes she would be very good at. At the moment, she lives with her mother, an older brother, her 6-year-old son, and the father of her son with whom she has a close but complicated relationship.
“This little brain of mine, it just be going and going. I’m always thinking. So, school is a good environment for me,” Britley admits.
My guess is, Britley can do anything she wants if she puts her mind to it. But, like many women in her situation – and her age -she is torn between being her own person, pursuing what she wants and being in relationship with and answerable to others. Britley admits that both her parents (now divorced) were good role models. Both have community college degrees and steady jobs. And she admits that her son’s father is a good advisor and “points her in the right direction a lot.”
Still, there is much for Britley to ponder on her own. To help herself sort through Life’s Big Questions, Britley journals and writes poetry. She keeps them all in a binder she refers to as her “lifeline.” During our interview, Britley shared some of her entries with me and I was both touched and impressed by her astute observations. On the very first page was a list entitled, “My Goals.” One goal, halfway down the list, caught my eye. It simply said:
“You got to listen to your instincts. Instincts tell you the truth. But, it’s your impulses that take over half the time. If you get a vibe that somethin’ is wrong…listen to it. That’s your instinct talkin’…” Brilliant.
She even wrote a poem called Instinct and Impulse. Below are just a few lines from it:
Impulses you must recognize
Instincts you must trust…
Instincts remain honest
As impulses may lie
Yet still produce “happiness”
While instincts can make you cry…
Instincts are in place for our survival
If you don’t believe impulses can kill,
You are in great denial.
Such insights from someone so relatively young is quite remarkable. This is a woman who clearly has a lot of talent on many levels. I asked Britley where she sees herself in 5 years.
I didn’t have the heart to quibble over semantics with Britley, although, technically, I think potential is the destination, not the vehicle. One strives to reach one’s full potential. No, I wasn’t going to quibble over semantics. I knew what she meant. Still, there was something about it that troubled me.
“Do you have a plan to get there? To get to that Great Place.”
“Uh, I don’t exactly have a plan, but…”
“Well, don’t worry. You’re in the right place to get some help in that area.”
And she is. Caroline Center not only provides job training and arranges for internships, but they also provide life skills training and counseling, as well as graduate support. In essence, they help each woman “get a plan.” Britley will learn all about that in her classes at Caroline Center. And then something tells me, her instincts will take over, and she’ll get to that great place in no time.
Just a hunch.
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