Student finds support network to pursue lifelong dream of helping others

After decades of struggles, where she needed help with addiction, homelessness and abusive relationships, Annette Smith is finally pursuing her dream of helping others. With the support network she found at Seattle Central College, she is studying social work. She hopes to improve the lives of women who are down on their luck as she once was.

“I know what it’s like to be lost and in pain. Coming to school helped me realize that there is a whole different world out there,” Annette said. “To watch a woman who has no hope, no life, get a spark in her eyes again, is what keeps me motivated.”

Annette has been living in a stable situation for several years, and spends much of her time giving back to Jubilee Women’s Center, which helped her get back on her feet and encouraged her to return to school. She serves on its Board of Directors, and was recognized at the organization’s annual fundraising breakfast last month, where she was asked to speak.

Despite these accomplishments, she was nervous about returning to school. After years of being out of the classroom, Annette came to Seattle Central and found a network of support that is helping her achieve her dream. She worked in the Humanities office, which helped her with expenses and to connect with instructors outside of the classroom. She is also enrolled in TRiO, a support service on campus that supports underrepresented students, which helps her stay on track academically and in her personal life.

“When I first came to campus, I was afraid I couldn’t keep up. But instructors have always been really helpful,” said Annette. “Everyone at Seattle Central is really open. I can ask questions of instructors and staff and know that they’re always willing to help.”

She has about one more year until she is finished with her associate degree in Social Work, but her classes and mentors have already inspired her to pursue a career helping vulnerable women and children.