Sheila’s mother always told her, “Regardless of what you decide to do in life, your work ethic reflects who you are; if you flip burgers be the very best at it.”
Pride in her work, a passion for learning new things, and the innate grit and positivity that has kept her thriving through good times and bad is the solid foundation on which Shelia has built her life. In 2014, after 12 years of dedication, Sheila learned that her job was going to be outsourced and eliminated. She courageously began preparing herself for a new chapter in her life.
After so many years of happy, steady employment, Sheila certainly missed the stability she had grown accustomed to but knew that as she worked to transition into a new career she would need to seek out resources to see her through. She was familiar with Brighton Center where her daughter Shakeeta had received job. With the personal connection pointing her in the direction of Brighton Center, she reached out to the agency for support in the fall of 2016.
Sheila made excellent use of the resources Brighton Center offered, from doing some shopping at the Clothing Closet and food pantry to taking full advantage of the many opportunities in Financial Services from credit counseling to attending workshops. During this time she also attended a presentation at the Kentucky Career Center, where a representative from Brighton Center’s Center for Employment Training spoke, reminding her that her daughter had attended the debt-free career certification program 10 years earlier.
“It all started coming together” says Sheila who taught her kids, and six grandchildren, that “knowledge is power. The more you have the farther you can go.”
Although there were those who told Sheila that she wouldn’t enjoy sitting in a classroom from 9 to 3:30 every day and does admit fighting the occasional negative thought that she might be too old to master computer technology, but she stepped out on faith and enrolled in CET’s Business and Computer Technology program on Halloween in 2016. With the support of her wonderful husband Terry who sent her off to class each day with the encouraging words, “I know you can do it!” and the laughter of her grandchildren who thought it was hilarious that “grandma is back in school!”, Sheila found that CET didn’t just help her grow into a new career, but as a person. It was a golden opportunity to learn about different kinds of people and personalities and grow her self-confidence.
Upon graduating from CET in July 2017, Sheila offers the following advice for those of us experiencing scary life changes, “Never give up. Keep striving. Sure, life happens, but keep pressing on and never let anyone steal your joy.” Without a doubt, Sheila will continue to be a shining star and an inspiration to everyone she meets in her new life and career.