Connections – Episode 16

Jodie began to see another dimension of her professor’s connection to students. That was one as a facilitator of hope.

How can I ever thank you? When I was a freshman, I came to you for help. My sister was at home with my mother, but the situation at home was intolerable. My mother was an alcoholic and would constantly come home late at night with a drunken male. I was really worried about Abbie’s safety. You connected me with a former student who was now practicing family law. I was able to become Abbie’s legal guardian, and she moved to campus with me.

I had you for another class in my sophomore year, and I know I must have been a disappointment. I was missing class and falling behind on my assignments. One day you asked me to come to your office. I was terrified of what you were going to say.

All you did was to ask me what was going on. With responsibility for Abbie, I had to get a job at a local pharmacy. The job was eating in to my school time, and my boss wanted me to work more hours. In fact, he wanted me to quit school and become a full-time employee.

I told you my story, and you asked me to do nothing until you could check out another plan. Two days later we met again, and you told me of an opportunity that changed Abbie and my life.

You had a retired faculty colleague who needed help to stay in her home. She and her husband were growing more and more infirm. They needed someone to live in their home with them and help them. This was a perfect opportunity for Abbie and me.

What started as an opportunity to stay in college became a family that Abbie and I needed so much. I’ll never be one of your all-stars, but my wife and I have three wonderful children. I try to pay it forward as you asked by helping young people who faced many of the struggles like I had.  Abbie also graduated from college, is married, and has 2 children. She is a special ed teacher.

It’s hard to imagine where we would be if you weren’t there for us.

John – Class of 1995

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