by Neree Aron-Sando
Takia Paschall never surrendered. Not to an abusive relationship. Not to post-traumatic stress disorder. Not to the overwhelming chaos that comes with raising five children.
“I never gave up on myself, my children or my dreams although I could have chosen to due to the hardships I have encountered,” the 30-year-old Montgomery County Community College student said. “I chose to pick myself up, get some help, get an education for career advancement, and to be an example to other single parents, victims of abuse, and individuals with mental illness. I choose to show them that there is a light at every tunnel, so just keep it moving.”
And so, the Tri-County Area YWCA in Pottstown chose the Montgomery County Community College student as its 2013 Rising Star, part of the annual Tribute to Exceptional Women event. Rising Stars are 17- to 30-year old, up-and-coming role models who provide skilled and enthusiastic leadership in an educational, family, career, or community setting, who are active in shaping the future of their communities, as volunteers, and in the workplace.
Paschall chose to attend Montgomery County Community College because of its location and convenience, “in addition to providing the program I was interested in at the time of registering for classes,” she said.
A KEYS (Keystone Education Yields Success) Foundation scholarship helps with the costs of education, as does financial aid.
“I have never had an issue when it came to paying for college. I am blessed not to have this problem,” she said. “But overall, this had nothing to do with me choosing to attend the College. I wanted to further my education for the betterment of my family.”
The KEYS program is a collaboration of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare and the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. The KEYS program is specifically designed to help specific recipients achieve their academic and career goals by providing financial and emotional support.
After she graduates in December 2013, Paschall hopes to find a job in her field — Human Services — for experience and to save money toward pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in human services at Chestnut Hill College. Ultimately, she hopes to earn a Ph.D. and become a spiritual counselor “and make a difference in the lives of others,” she said.
“The support that I receive from family, friends and staff at the College helped me to overcome my trials. I refuse to allow any situation or circumstance to stop me from obtaining my dreams,” she said. “I know we all have and will endure trials and tribulations but it takes strength, perseverance, and courage to continue on the journey of life with peace, love and joy in our hearts in spite of what life brings our way. I want the best for my children and our future so I must continue to keep it moving and overcome to get my desired outcome.”