Have you ever thought that a negative situation you experienced would lead to a career goal you couldn’t wait to obtain?
One of our wonderful participants had this happen to her.
Terenca moved into our Stoddard Johnston Scholar House campus in 2011. She came to us for support after surviving an abusive marriage, which forced her to leave her house, filled with not only her belongings, but her vivid memories as well. She and her eight year old daughter, Nailah have found positivity, support and opportunity in their new situation.
Terenca attends the University of Louisville and is on track to graduate in December 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Individualized Studies which includes: American Sign Language Interpretation, Communications, and Business. She is thrilled and appreciative that UofL allowed her the opportunity to obtain this customized degree.
“I’m going to do something I love”
Terenca knows exactly what she wants to do upon her awaited graduation day. Because of what she’s been through, what she’s seen, and what she loves to do she has decided she wants to create a non-profit organization for deaf or hard-of-hearing women who have been or are currently victims of domestic violence. “I have the American Sign Language knowledge and I am accepted in the deaf community. I want to use my skills to help.” Victims need resources and a safe place to go for assistance that understands their unique needs. Unintentionally, hearing individuals create barriers for deaf or hard-of-hearing people and make it difficult for communication. Terenca wants to establish an organization where deaf or hard-of-hearing women feel comfortable and accepted. Her biggest concern is that women in such situations may feel that they are being misunderstood and isolated by hearing people because of the communication barrier, so instead of staying safe they may choose to return to their abusive situation.
“I want these women to maintain a healthy lifestyle, not just be survivors”
It’s important to Terenca that every woman who has been through any type of violence not only survives it, but realizes turning their life around for the better is an attainable goal. She realizes her goal of opening this incredible non-profit organization will take time, but she is in no hurry. She wants to be sure her program offers childcare, counseling, positive parenting, education, and community outreach. Terenca is very familiar with the ‘Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services,’ which is located in Seattle, Washington. She plans to create an organization similar to this one. Because she understands the mission we have at Family Scholar House and has had the opportunity to live in our supportive housing, she now wants to give back and help women who have been in similar situations.
“My goal is to not overwhelm myself after graduation. I’ve been telling myself that for a while and I’ve stayed ahead of the game.”
Terenca is a hardworking student and a fantastic mother. She is very involved in the deaf community and will participate in the 2014 Deaf Awareness Week hosted by Louisville American Sign Language Association. Terenca will support her fellow women as they attend and speak at the annual Take Back the Night event on September 30. Terenca is living the commitment that to whom much is given, is expected– and she is up to the challenge.