From the streets to the classroom

Her first semester courses were done completely online, but she'd never used a computer before, so she took computer classes at the Saratoga Springs Public Library. She maintained between a 3.77 and 3.92 GPA every semester. She was named to the President's List and was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, which she's now vice president of. She interned at Hedgerow House in Ballston Spa and volunteered with the Red Cross of Northeastern New York and Shelters of Saratoga.

"I made goals for myself," said Taylor. "I got involved right away on campus."

Taylor excelled in her classes and campus activities but in the years leading up to those moments, she wasn't quite as confident.

"I saw the power of education and it was a dream of mine to go to college. But I was worried about it because it was so many years since I've been in school and I was wondering how I would assimilate," said Taylor.

After going through an empowerment group and keeping a "dream journal," Taylor got the "gumption" to apply to SCCC and a few weeks later took placement tests and registered for classes.

"So many people encouraged me to realize my dream," said Taylor. "I got [a lot] of encouragement and support."

Hitting rock bottom and coming out on the other side of her "darkest hour" is what drove her career path, said Taylor.

"I always had that mustard seed of hope, even in my darkest hour, that there was a plan for me, a purpose for me," said Taylor.

As a social worker, Taylor said she's going to help others believe in themselves.

"Wanting to be able to realize my dream and realizing it at 50 people can realize their dreams regardless of life circumstances with self determination," said Taylor. "I've gone through many obstacles, health problems, a history of emotional breakdowns that I use as a springboard to make me more appreciative, compassionate. I want to be there for other people to encourage them in their walk, whatever that walk may be."

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