My family participated in many social service programs. We were exposed to many of the societal ills that inner city and lower income families face including, drugs, alcohol, crime, and sexual and physical abuse.
At age 12 I was told I would be pregnant by the age of sixteen and would grow-up to be nothing. I was reduced to a statistic with one comment.
I asked myself, "what could have I have said or done to an adult to have them say to me that I would be nothing".
My mom told my siblings and I that we could not go to college because she simply couldn't afford to send us. One day, our Pastor Aaron Williams and his wife, Betty asked my twin sister Pat and I what we wanted to be when we grew up? I repeated the harsh reality that my mom instilled within me, "that we could not go to college because she could not afford it."
My spirit was instantly lifted when they expressed a stance of hope. They stated, because she was on social services we COULD go to college and that my mom’s legacy did not have to be ours.
I cannot remember filling out one college application or receiving an acceptance letter, but I do remember preparing to leave home and being dropped-off at college with the minimum of items and 5$ in my pocket. The odds seemed to be stacked against me.
Fast forward, almsot 30 years later, and I am now Dr. Dolores Carr. Who would have thought?
I found my gift and passion by accident. After paying large amounts for daycare, I decided I would get a job teaching so my children and I would be on the same schedule and I would not have to pay fpr childcare. It was then that I met my purpose and passion for “teaching”.
As an educator I met young adults who were intelligent, but had not found their purpose and passion, and who faced similar conditions of hopelessness and despair while coping with negative environments.
Over the years, I have shared my life story with them, have spent time listening to their life's hurts and disappointments.
I paid attention to their likes, dislikes, and assisted them in finding their passion and providing education and career options. With consistent dedication I've watched their lives transform into something they can be proud of.
It is in those moments that Iknow I am living my life on purpose and that I have the gift of modeling behaviors that others will be able to emulate to acheive their own success. I always imart these words of wisdom to my students.
"Be intentional about your success, for you are not responsible for your beginning, but you are responsible for your ending."
It is from this passion and purpose, that I gave birth to a dream: Education Transformation Centre.
ETC is an alternate school which offers a short-term, high-impact course over the span of six weeks that is designed to prevent encounters with the justice system as well as eliminate or reduce excessive anti-social, defiant, and delinquent behaviors. We accomplish this task by teaching conflict resolution, decision making, anger management, etiquette, and goal setting while also providing training and education in workplace readiness and career planning. We exist to serve our children; to provide education and hope that changes, not just the current generation, but the generations to come. To read more about ETC, visit http://etccville.org.