The Brighton Center shared this story in a recent newsletter. In this season of gratitude, gratitude and hope for the future, NKyTribune is here to share Amanda’s story.
They say kids change your life, but it’s usually not through backpack flyers. My son led to his leadership development at the Brighton Center Youth through school. He came home from one of his meetings with a piece of paper in his backpack explaining all the other services available at the Brighton Centre. I resisted at first. It is very difficult to admit that you need help.
However, the Youth Leadership Development Facilitator reassured me that their program was not there to “help” me, but to give me another life. If it was just me, I might still have resisted, but they offered programs for the whole family individually or together. The biggest change I had to make was to stop thinking about just getting through today and start thinking about what I wanted to do for the future.
I moved to Northern Kentucky Scholar House in 2019 and attended Gateway & Community Technical College as part of the Gateway Program to Northern Kentucky University. With her youngest child at Brighton Center’s Early Scholar’s Child Development Center on the grounds of the Northern Kentucky Scholar House and her two older children participating in her leadership development in school and youth, I had time to focus on his education. I never imagined that I would go to college. My parents didn’t go to college. It never set a course in front of me like it did in other households. So I did what started to become easier for me and connected me to helpful resources in college. I look forward to pursuing it. I never imagined this was possible.
Over the years I have been involved with the Brighton Centre, I have worked with my finances throughout. Financial coaching as part of the process has made such a difference. I have gone from a financial situation where I had no money to now sharing my budgeting tips with everyone I meet. I was able to improve my credit score enough to start planning to buy a house in.
One of my favorite things about my new life is that I can participate now. When my life was struggling to pay the bills, I didn’t have the time or energy to participate. But now I love giving back to causes that matter to me. I joined the Kentucky Scholar House Resident Council to help shape and guide the community in which I live. We have also worked with the Northern Kentucky Pride Institute to help foster acceptance. A resource for anyone who might need them (my biggest tip: start with the Brighton Centre!).
My older children are ready to start thinking about college in no time. As a first-generation college graduate, I will be one of the parents who can guide her children through the college process. I teach them how to budget so that it becomes a habit. Most of all, the Brighton Center has given me a set of tools to navigate my life. You can also teach others how to use these tools.
My children have gained so many social skills and confidence through youth leadership development that they have improved their ability to advocate for themselves. But there are people who have the tools to face those challenges and are ready to help them face them – that’s what success looks like.
People at Brighton Center love to talk about their hopes and dreams. I didn’t have much of either when I first met them. But now I am contemplating the next steps in an exciting new career. Raise a stable and confident child. And I dream of a cozy home with a small room for the four of us to spread out, a small garden to tend to, and the time and energy to express my artistic side. It’s all because of the flyer in the rucksack.
Click here to make a donation to support the programs Amanda mentioned.