Life Evolves Full Circle
When Amy first came to Life-Work Planning Center she remembers that she felt “broken, both emotionally and spiritually.” She had one year of college behind her and had gotten good grades. She had wanted to continue but there were financial constraints and she just wasn’t able to go. Instead, she had moved to the Twin Cities with her boyfriend and had gotten a job, and they were planning to get married. They had friends and there was some drug use.
While on a vacation to South Dakota with these friends, their car was pulled over, drugs were found and although Amy tested clean – she had stopped using drugs and was now pregnant with her daughter – the car was in her name and she was given 15 days jail time. The others were given up to nineteen years. All of this served as the backdrop for Amy to relocate to her home town of New Ulm to have her baby and start over. Amy came to Life-Work Planning Center after being referred by Jill Berglund, her MFIP counselor with Minnesota Valley Action Council.
Amy began coming to the Personal Growth and Career Development workshop and participated in all the discussions. She said it “helped tremendously.” All the work on self-esteem, getting grounded on who she was through work on values, interests, skills, and courage helped her develop her self-image and become more confident. She knew she wanted to go back to college and graduate and help people in some way. Not only did she want to do it, she had developed the inner strength to know that she was able to do it. Her first goal was to get off MFIP and start college.
The following year was very difficult. It started off well, she found a better paying job, but then following a personal crisis, she started drinking and eventually became addicted to meth. Amy was determined that she was going to stop and she did. Sometime later, acting on a tip, police searched Amy’s and her boyfriend’s garage and found what could have been used to make meth.
She and her boyfriend were tested and both were clean as they had stopped using some time previous. Regardless, they were arrested and Amy was sentenced to prison; first in New Ulm, then at Shakopee, and finally at a boot camp in Northern Minnesota. As she thought back she said, “I don’t really think that I could have made it through it without your program.” She appealed her conviction and eventually won but that was after she had already served her time.
In the meantime, she needed help financing college with a felony on her record and the people at the boot camp were there to help her. It was there that she realized that she wanted to use her education to help women. Life-Work Planning Center had helped her get grounded in who she was and in knowing what she wanted to do and with a plan to accomplish it.
Going back to school as a non-traditional student has its own set of problems, one of which is often that a student has adult life responsibilities to juggle along with school work. Amy was no exception. During her time in school she married and gave birth to two children. Her last year of school she interned at the New Ulm Medical Center in the Chemical Dependency department. She loved it and following graduation in 2005 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Alcohol and Drug Studies, and minors in Criminal Justice and Women’s Studies, she began working for them full time.
When asked what her words of wisdom are she said, “Never give up. If you’re passionate about something you can accomplish it; if you have one person in your corner that backs you up and supports you.” Amy’s life has changed a lot since she left Life-Work Planning Center 11 years ago. She has a full life with her husband and four children and a career that she loves. Her life took some side tracks but her vision always remained and now she is helping other women regain their track.
– Christine Olson, Peer Counselor