A Story of Hope: Higher Education

Although the transformation begins in our rigorous 90-day program, the impact lasts for a lifetime for Hillcrest Hope families. For many, that impact is still felt as their children grow into adults and pursue their next steps higher — education. The life skills parents learn at Hillcrest Hope allows them to help their children en route to the next step.

We believe families can create their best life when they have the tools to do it. For graduate Manette, Hillcrest Hope was where she learned to provide stability for her family — the stability her children needed to further their education. Manette’s daughter Diamond is currently studying at Park University, a student-athlete on a track scholarship. “I’m proud of her and she seems to be so happy,” Manette says.

“Hillcrest was the best situation I’ve ever been in, and they have an awesome support system,” Manette says. “The Christian basis made it wonderful for me. It was a chance for me to save money and to pay off a lot of my debt, but I also learned the basic life skills I needed. Hillcrest Hope was a miracle for me.”

Today, Manette lives in the same home she moved into after graduating from Hillcrest Hope. “I finished the program successfully and I’ve been in my house ever since,” she says. “I haven’t skipped a beat.” She credits the planning and budgeting skills gained at Hillcrest for her success.

Although she’s only a sophomore, Diamond has already made her mark on the University. She both set and broke the school record in weight throw, from 11.4 meters to 12.23. She competes in a wide variety of events, including the shot put, discus, hammer, weight throw and javelin. Diamond was even named Park’s Athlete of the Week in February 2015.

With ambitions to become a psychiatrist, Diamond is studying biology. Her favorite classes so far have been hands-on courses, including a zoology class. She keeps up good grades in spite of her demanding track schedule and a part-time job. Manette says, “I’m a very proud mother!”

And it’s not only Diamond that she’s proud of. Her son, Jose, has studied at Wentworth Military Academy and College and is considering transferring to Park University as well. He hopes to pursue a career in business administration and management.

“Hillcrest is a wonderful program and it changed my life,” Manette says. “I don’t know what I would have done without it.”

Graduate Gina also thanks Hillcrest Hope for the foundation she needed to help her son in education. Today, her son Dakota is stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. A graduate from Basic Training and Airborne School, he’s currently in the infantry and is getting ready to go to Army Ranger School. He has so much going for him, Gina says proudly. He’s really taken off.

“I raised my kids to always have a plan in life,” Gina explains, “that they need to get out there and make something of their lives.” Her daughter is 13 and is interested in becoming a nurse someday. Gina thanks Hillcrest Hope for instilling that sense of optimism and ambition.

Of particular importance to Gina was the financial aspect of Hillcrest Hope. “My mom never taught us about having a budget or how to spend money,” she says. “So it opened my eyes to separating my wants from my needs and getting detailed in my financial planning.”

“Through it all, I’ve kept my faith,” Gina says. “God puts things in our past for a reason. Through it all, He’s never failed me. I made it. I’m proud of that. I could have taken the opposite direction, but instead of being a victim of my circumstances, I chose to be a victor of what I have in front of me.”

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