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GIFTS OF HOPE: Beverly Bootstraps’ HISET program helps client see brighter future

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story is the second in a four-part series for Wicked Local Beverly’s annual Gifts of Hope campaign.

BEVERLY — Courtney* dropped out of high school at the age of 17. In the nearly 15 years that have passed since she made that decision, Courtney has worked as a nanny and became a mother to a beautiful, smart and sweet little girl.

That little girl is the main reason Courtney decided to take to the Internet and search for places she could take her high-school equivalency test (HiSET) in Beverly.

“My daughter was a huge motivator,” she said. “I want to be a good role model for her … Plus, I want to get a good job with benefits.”

Through her web searches, Courtney discovered that Beverly Bootstraps offers HiSET preparation classes.

“I like that they offer one-on-one help,” she said, noting the many volunteer tutors who help out at Bootstraps. “I knew I needed more help than just a traditional fast-paced class.”

After contacting Julia Andrews, education program director for the organization, and learning more about the program, including that child care is provided, Courtney knew she had found the right fit.

“I started taking classes right away,” she said, explaining she took her time and spaced out her tests so she wasn’t too overwhelmed. “All of the tutors were cheering me on and they were so supportive.”

After completing her HiSET certificate earlier this year, Courtney said she was unsure what her options were in order to take the next step and start college.

Thankfully, Bootstraps connected her with a consultant who helped guide her through the process of applying for student aid and grants, and making sure she was on the right path.

Courtney is now enrolled at North Shore Community College and is looking forward to a career in the social work field.

“I’m hoping to get my associate’s degree and get my foot in the door somewhere,” she said. “I’m still a year and a half away from that, and then I will have to get my bachelor’s.”

Yvonne van Bodengraven, education coordinator at Beverly Bootstraps, said clients who are extremely motivated, like Courtney, often have a higher rate of success in the program.

“It does get harder the longer you wait,” she said.

Courtney said she put off getting her HiSET for years because she was afraid of failing the math test.

“If I had known about this program sooner, I definitely would have done it before now,” she said. “But I’m glad I’m no longer letting my fear of not passing a math test keep me from my future.”

* Names in this article have been changed.

 

Give a Gift of Hope

Thanks to the continued generosity of donors, Beverly Bootstraps remains community funded and supported. Donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, churches and local organizations all help provide critical resources to individuals and families so they may achieve self-sufficiency.

This holiday season, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to Beverly Bootstraps.

To send donations, write ‘Gifts of Hope’ in the subject line of your check. Send your contribution to: Beverly Bootstraps Community Services, 35 Park St., Beverly, MA 01915.

You can also donate online at www.beverlybootstraps.org. Volunteers are also always needed for the various programs Bootstraps provides. For more information about Beverly Bootstraps, visit www.beverlybootstraps.org or call 978-927-1561.