A soon-to-be graduate of Edmonds College, Ariana is receiving a full scholarship to attend Brown University in the fall, where she will receive her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. Ariana was also accepted to Seattle University, University of Washington’s Seattle and Bothell campuses, and Columbia University. Ariana was honored with Edmonds College’s Women’s Achievement Award and the Outstanding Mathematics Major Award for 2020.
What has your road to college looked like?
Straight out of high school at 18 years old, I was living on my own and working a full-time job. Despite these circumstances, I enrolled in community college and began my very short first college experience. I managed through my first quarter, but when winter quarter came, working, taking classes and trying to find stability in my personal life became too much for me to balance and I dropped out.
The next eight years were spent moving away from my hometown, having my two babies and getting married. With two babies’ futures to think about, in 2018 I started considering going back to school to get a degree. It was a daunting goal, and I knew that if I started taking classes, I had to finish this time around. After touring the campus, meeting with advisors and making a course plan, I knew I was ready to try again. In November 2018, I took the English and mathematics placement exams, and on January 2, 2019, I officially restarted my education journey at Edmonds College. Read more.
We met Raymond about 24 hours after his daughter was born. He had just come from the hospital for his initial meeting with us. He applied to our Family Connections Program months earlier, knowing that he and his wife, Althea, needed childcare if they were to keep working toward their degrees.
We said, “let’s reschedule”, but his response was, “this meeting can’t wait.”
Raymond had some time before he needed to be back home with his new little family. So we met with him and he was accepted into the Family Connections Program on the spot. He and his wife were laser-focused on earning their college degrees. The childcare assistance would help them stay the course.
Like many of our students, the road to college is not linear. Twists and turns, blockades and barriers make getting ahead even more challenging.
Raymond remembers his first, life-changing action after he was released from prison.
We are immensely proud of these 30 scholars who, despite increased challenges due to COVID-19, have made it to graduation day! Whether they’re continuing on to earn their next degree, or jumping into a new career, we know exciting things are in store.
Thank you to all who donated and supported Goodwin Connections this year.
Click on the video below to hear from, Tara, one of this year’s graduates.
Not only did you surpass the GiveBIG goal, but you allowed us to meet our match. Your $12,844 in online and mailed in gifts plus the $10,000 match means that this has been the most successful GiveBIG ever for our families.
Like so much of what we do, we do together. GiveBIG was a true team effort. Thank you, thank you, to our board members, committee members, long-time supporters, and new supporters.
We are so amazed by your generosity and commitment to keeping our families safe, healthy, and connected to school through this spring, summer, and into the new school year.
We look forward to updating you with a lot of good news next month, as many students will be celebrating their college graduation.
P.S. Below is a video of thanks from Rachelle, a student from Seattle Central College, who will be graduating with her Bachelor’s Degree in Health this spring.
We met Tara just before her little one was born. A few weeks later, she welcomed her daughter into the world, and we welcomed Tara into our Family Connections Program. She started in the dental assistant program at Clover Park Technical College soon after.
Today, Tara has a dental assistant job waiting for her after graduation this spring, and she will eventually begin classes towards her ultimate goal of becoming a dental hygienist.
Last week, we received this letter from a student that we’re so happy to pass on to you. After all, you made this happen.
Now that school is back in session and things are a little more in place I would like to thank you for all the things you’ve done for me, in the last month especially, with all the emotional support and check-in emails. So I wrote a short letter from the bottom of my heart.
In this letter, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to every single person involved with Goodwin Connections and all the donors for their generous contributions towards the education of many students in the state, but especially to those who have helped to support my education during these uncertain times we are living. When I first enrolled for my spring classes at Lake Washington Institute of Technology, I was sure that tightening my family budget would help me pay for my classes and other expenses. I was not aware of the tremendous impact the COVID-19 virus would have on the education and the lifestyle of most of us. Read more.
Ten years ago, I was trapped in a domestic violence (DV) relationship. The consequences of this relationship were extensive, affecting my mental, emotional, and physical well-being. During this period, I was prescribed oxycodone for multiple injuries. As the abusive relationship got worse, so too did my abuse of oxycodone.
Eight years ago, I successfully navigated my way out of that DV relationship and my addiction. I have been sober for eight years. This is my story of discovering my strength against the odds and using it to reach my fullest potential.
At seven months pregnant, after hours of being locked in a room—berated with verbal abuse, smothered, struck, and strangled—my water broke. I convinced my abuser that if either the baby or I died, no amount of “it won’t happen again” would save him from legal ramifications and that 911 needed to be called. He was arrested, while I was airlifted to a Seattle hospital.Read more.
A decade ago, Rich was a self-employed contractor working 60 hours a week to make ends meet. He rarely got to spend time with his wife, Rachel, and their two young kids. Still, his health was suffering. Their home was facing foreclosure. They felt stuck.
“It wasn’t sustainable,” Rich says. “I wanted to go to school but the cost of childcare made it prohibitive to not work full time.”
They couldn’t live solely off Rachel’s public teacher salary.
Then they discovered the Seattle Milk Fund (now Goodwin Connections) and their entire outlook changed. Read more.
At the beginning of the school year, Denise Nicole spoke to our guests at our annual luncheon. Here is her story…
Good afternoon. It is an honor to be here. My name is Denise Nicole, and my four-year-old son, Kingston, and I just joined the Family Connections Program.
I am here on behalf of all the new and returning student parents and their families to thank you for believing in us and our children.
My journey has been filled with hardships that could have impacted my life in a negative way. There have been hurdles and obstacles that could have stopped me in my tracks. But I have persevered and stayed true to my path because I am worth fighting for! Read more.
This week, we announced Goodwin Connections’ inaugural Sandra Tonseth Scholar. An honor that will be bestowed upon a University of Washington student from the day they enter our Family Connections program through their graduation day. Named in memory of Sandy Tonseth, a past Seattle Milk Fund President and founding member of the Everett W. Nordstrom Circle. Sandy and her friends were Nordstrom employees who wanted to give back in a meaningful way and they found purpose in helping Seattle Milk Fund families. Sandy herself attended the University of Washington and studied art.
This year’s Sandra Tonseth Scholar is Alexandra. Alexandra is in her final year at the University of Washington majoring in Comparative History of Ideas with a minor in Environmental Studies.
She is an artist at heart who has a passion for music and documentary filmmaking. In addition to school, Alexandra also volunteers for 350 Seattle, a grassroots nonprofit working on the climate change crisis. Read more.