Turning Point Education Center (TPEC), one of many services offered by Open Arms Christian Ministries in Switz City, helped a young mother turn her life around.
Five years after dropping out of high school Davia Pabey went back to TPEC to try one more time for her GED.
She received her GED at TPEC in December 2011 at 21. Now, at 22 and the mother of two, she's working to further her education and has a goal in mind for her future.
Pabey said she dropped out of school at 16 when she became pregnant, and did not have the drive to return to Shakamak High School to continue work for her diploma.
"That's not an excuse. I didn't get a cool TV show. I was miserable and pregnant. I just didn't want to get up and go to school," Pabey admitted. "I asked about home school, and that was a joke."
Pabey said she had spent her life expecting to marry rich and be a housewife, but as she grew older realized her dream was out of touch with reality.
"Where am I going to be with two kids and no degree?" she said.
Pabey said she tried a couple times to get her GED, but raising a child as a single mother made it difficult. It was not until her son, Taheem, who is now 5-years-old, said something that tugged at her heart.
"I woke my son up for school one day. He said, 'I don't want to go to school. You don't have to go to school so why should I?' " Pabey recalled.
Pabey said as soon as she dropped her son off at school that day, pregnant with her second child Taaliyah, she enrolled at TPEC one more time.
"I'm thankful they've (TPEC) given me more chances. I was a handful, but I've matured and grown up a lot. They have put up with a lot from me," Pabey said.
She was especially excited to see how proud her son was to see his mother enrolled in school again.
"He (Taheem) loves it. We bought our backpacks together. I had to take him to class with me one day, and he asked me for a piece of paper. I thought he was going to draw. He sat there and took notes. My 5-year-old copied down the notes the instructor wrote on the board," Pabey said with a smile on her face.
Pabey has re-evaluated her dreams of the future and has enrolled in Certified Nurses Aide classes. She said she wants to work as a nurse in the prison.
"I refuse to settle. I want a legitimate job. I want a career. I want my kids to be proud of me," Pabey said.
Pabey said her grandmother, Sherri Lemasters, has been a huge inspiration to her career choice, as well as the push to further her education.
Lemasters went back to get her GED after having three children, and has worked as a CNA since 1985.
TPEC Director Nancy Damron said some students sent to the center have failed a few credits or are unable to handle regular classes, so the schools will send students to TPEC to recover those credits.
She added while most of the students are between 17 and 19-years-old, there are some older students looking to get their GED.
Free GED preparation classes are available on the Open Arms campus Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 8:15 to 11:15 a.m. and noon to 3 p.m. Evening classes are also available at the Linton WorkOne on Tuesday and Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m.
Damron noted the organization wants students to realize there is more to their future than just getting a diploma or GED.
"We try to stick the resources out there. They (students) may not be college material, but they can get viable certifications," Damron said.
The WorkIndiana program allows those 18 years or older who are working on or have acquired a GED or diploma in the last six months to take part in the certification program.
Certifications include Administrative Assistant, CNA, Automotive Brake Repair, CDL Truck Driving, Bookkeeping and several more.
"We are wanting to minister to the whole student, no matter what their needs are," Damron said.
Tiffany Leonard, of the Linton Hamilton Center, provides individual, group and family therapy on the Open Arms campus.
"There is a very high need. Some of them are here due to neglect, abuse or their parents can't handle their behavior. Some of the students through TPEC just need the help," Leonard explained.
Leonard said emotional problems, low self-esteem or anxieties stand in the way of the students getting the education they need.
Leonard noted she stresses to the TPEC students getting a GED is not as easy as they believe.
"Right now, some kids think the GED is the easy way out. They fail to see the difference in how employers perceive their education," Leonard noted.
For more information about the Turning Point Education Center call 659-2533.