by Neree Aron-Sando
Family needs drive Tracey Twitty, 32, of Barto. The proud, loving mother of five beautiful children became an advocate for autism awareness when her middle son was diagnosed with mild autism at the age of three.
And she wanted to enter the medical field since her mother was implanted with a pacemaker when Twitty was seven years old. “I became fascinated with cardiology,” she said.
Twitter returned to Pennsylvania when she learned that her father was sick and needed her at home.
“I wanted to continue my education, so I decided to look into schools [in Pennsylvania], and what I had found was that Montgomery County Community College had a really competitive program. After talking to Diana McFadden [academic advisor at West Campus], I decided that the College was where I wanted to go,” Twitty said.
Financial aid helped Twitty get to college and stay there. “I qualified for Pell Grants this year, which was great. The fact that tuition was affordable allowed me the opportunity to come to school,” she said. “If I would have had to pay all my tuition out of pocket, I probably would not have been able to afford it by myself.”
Twitty is enrolled in the Medical Assisting Certificate Program and anticipates earning her certificate in August. After that, she plans to continue her education at Montgomery County Community College, first to achieve her Phlebotomy certificate and, ultimately, her Registered Nurse certification.
“I do everything in my life because of my family, from my kids to my parents,” Twitty said. “My life was not the same once I got married and had a family at a young age. But I feel that even though my life is different, that does not mean that I can’t do things. It just might take me a little longer than everyone else. However, the strength that I have is comes naturally. My mom is a strong woman, and she always told me that I will never be given anything that I cannot handle.”
At Montgomery County Community College, Twitty is a member of the Medical Assisting Club and a student representative on the Medical Assisting Advisory Committee. In that capacity, she was asked to travel to Harrisburg on April 9 for Lobby Day, an annual day when a contingent of community college students travel to the state capitol to speak with legislators.
She brings to the state capitol more experience, more passion, and more reasons for advocacy than most of her community college student peers.
“My kids bring a lot out in me: the good and the bad,” she said. “I know that I am my children’s advocate. If I do not speak up for them, then who will?”
When Twitty walked with her classmates in May, it was with the knowledge that her children and her parents are bursting with pride and that she is the role model for her children that she hoped she could be. She is already the first member of her immediate family to attend college.
“It’s my job as a mom to help my children through life and to be there for them as my parents have always been there for me,” Twitty said. “I want to show my children that it is never too late to change, and it’s never wrong to stand up for what’s right. I hope to help with the changes in the world and the way people see autistic children. My son is a ray of sunshine, and I thank God each and every day for not just him but all my beautiful children and for that family that I am blessed with. I know that they are not perfect, but who is?”