Today Edith Lopez is a full-time student at Lanier Technical College studying to become a medical assistant. Considered an opportunity youth her freshman year of high school, Lopez made drastic changes to get her grades up and her lifestyle in line for better education and career opportunities. “In two years I went from a freshman to a senior,” she says. As a highly-motivated high school graduate, the obvious next step for her was college to pursue a career in the medical field.
College was cost prohibitive for Lopez and her family, though. “I thought I wouldn’t be able to go to college,” she says. “How was I going to pay for it?” Though Lopez held part-time jobs in high school, she already used most of her earnings to help support her mom and their family. Higher education was an extra expense and kept the idea of college out of reach. Determined to find a way to go to school, Lopez reached out to her Goodwill contacts. “[The Goodwill staff] told me, ‘Goodwill’s going to pay for school and your supplies. You can enroll in a program that helps kids go to college.’ I thought, ‘Wow, I do have a chance.’”
Lopez enrolled in Goodwill of North Georgia’s College Career Catalyst (C3) Program. The program covers school-related expenses, like books and tuition. It also equips her with an additional support system – her Goodwill C3 counselors – who guide her through tough decisions, like how balance the responsibilities of school, work and family. Her drive to learn as only increased. Lopez recognizes the value of her education and wants to do everything she can to put her knowledge to good use.