With the hope that their children would not make the same mistakes in life they had made, Leslie Hudson and Christall Peavy committed to earning their high school diplomas. So pride in their own accomplishments was evident when the two Florida women, who recently earned their diplomas from Goodwill Industries Big Bend’s Career Training Center, were interviewed for the Panama City News Herald.
“Now that I have a high school diploma, a lot of doors are opened to me,” said Hudson, 31, and the mother of three.
Hudson and Peavy dropped out of high school as young teens, then faced down substance abuse and other issues before entering the training program in early 2009. While working as Goodwill employees as part of its “earn and learn” program, the women were paid for studying three hours a day during their shifts.
“It’s been just an amazing thing to watch them succeed,” said Jennifer Accardi, director of the program. “They have to want to do it.”
Peavy, who lost her three children due to child neglect and drug possession charges in 2008, realized she had to make changes. She completed drug court and the terms of her pre-trial intervention, had the charges dropped, and was reunited with her children.
“It’s made me believe in myself,” said Peavy about the Goodwill program. “I want to give my kids self-sufficiency. I want them to reach their fullest potential.”
“The world will leave you behind if you don’t have an education, said Hudson. “I want to go to college. I want to buy a house.”
Read more about Goodwill programs for youth.