Finding Her Confidence

Anita DeHart grew up in a home of substance addiction and physical abuse.  On that dangerous path, her father began to get abusive toward her mother and siblings until they separated.  Her father remarried and, although he remained abusive, has focused on sobriety for the past 22 years.  Anita’s mother was able to get clean while incarcerated and maintained it for four years. Anita and her siblings had to live with their father and step mother finding more physical and mental abuse.  Anita turned to drugs at 16 years old to help her cope, starting with pain pills and moving onto meth.  “I just wanted to feel normal or different from what I was feeling at that moment.  Drugs helped with that.”

 

Anita “became too much of a problem child,” dropped out of high school, and was sent to live with her mother.  Her mother’s health deteriorated so Anita cared for her.  Her mother relapsed back to drugs a year before passing away – Anita’s daughter, Chasity, was only six months old.   This sent Anita spiraling back into depression and it would be two more years until she changed her life. “I went to jail and got clean.  I was accepted in the Drug Court program and my life became amazing.  I  was finally becoming somebody I want to be.  I was 100% off drugs and loving everything about life.  I graduated Drug Court and a month later gave birth to my son, Nicholas.”

 

However, doctors gave Anita pain medication during labor that instantly relapsed all her progress toward sobriety.  It took another two years until she finally had enough, got clean, separated from her children’s father, found support living with her sister, and had her case worker sign her up at LearningQuest to earn her diploma in order to find a job. Anita quickly passed all tests and earned her diploma.  Her hardworking ability to excel in class was why she was chosen to be a speaker at her 2019 Graduation & Awards Night.  Anita said, “I was unemployed and lacking confidence to even apply for a job because I didn’t have my HSE or GED.  My daughter is my true inspiration. How can I as a mom ask her to do great things in school if I didn’t even finish high school?”

 

Anita found employment at Ace Hardware with  plans to start courses to earn her A.A. in Human Services this Fall at MJC.  Anita says, “My dream is to be able to help women like myself, addicts who just can’t seem to stop, mother’s who don’t believe they’re good enough.”

 

“I had the knowledge in me the whole time, I just needed to believe.”

-Anita DeHart

 

Student Becomes Teacher in COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. With students transitioned to online learning at home, many parents have been tasked with the challenge of also becoming their child’s teacher for the rest of the school year.  This challenge helped Amy Romero, a mom and LearningQuest grad, find a new strength within herself. 

Amy was raised in a very close-knit family with a wonderful childhood in Ceres, California.  Like many young girls, she had dreams and ambitions to shoot for the stars. However, things changed when she became pregnant and dropped out of high school to become a full-time mom.  After having her son, she turned to a life of drug abuse.  It took many years of struggling with addiction before Amy realized that her choices were truly affecting herself and her family – she finally had enough. 

I wanted a better career for my children, and I [had] to show them, if I could do it, they can [too],” Amy said.  She set off on the path to finish what she started – earning her diploma.  Amy faced the challenges of being a single parent and working full-time while attending LearningQuest, but she never gave up.  At the 2019 Spring Graduation & Awards Night, Amy was celebrated for earning her diploma and winning the award for “Best Effort” in her class.  Amy finally felt that she will be the mom she was always meant to be. 

The pandemic has changed how society operates and Amy stands strong.  With her children at home doing school work online, Amy uses the skills and confidence she gained from LearningQuest to help them stay on track, “What I was taught in the classroom, I can [now] bring it home and help my kids with their homework.”  Amy expresses how her children are teaching her new and exciting things every day.  She has found a strength in teaching and learning from others in order to help her children succeed during this pandemic.  Amy encourages other parents to find their strength, “Don’t give up. Limits are for credit cards, not people. Reach for the stars.” 

 

By Yvonne Downs