Barbara Caceres

Barbara Caceres, an NEDP graduate from Renton Technical College, Washington, has been inspired by the NEDP program to pursue her dream of writing and has been successful at publishing a number of articles. Barbara shared her inspirational story with CASAS. Barbara wrote:

I actually dropped out of high school --not once but twice! I was always a good student but like many who quit school, I had a troubled family life and grew up in housing projects with no father and an alcoholic mother.

I loved to read and especially loved to write. When I was just 10 years old I started writing poetry and amassed over 100 poems by the time I was 17. Music and books became my 'balm', soothing an aching heart and wounded spirit.

I got pregnant at 19 and started working menial, low paying jobs at the luxury hotels in downtown Seattle. I stayed off welfare and supported not only myself and my son, but my mom too. We managed to stay off welfare and out of the projects ---only because at that time (in the 1980's) there were still low income neighborhoods and affordable rentals.

I married a wonderful, kind and loving man in 1989 and we had a daughter in 1990. In 1999, my son graduated from Kent Meridian High School. It was seeing him in his cap and gown that motivated me and led me to the EDP. It took almost a year but I've never before had such a feeling of pride and accomplishment. NEDP gave me confidence. In addition to earning the high school diploma, I learned that I could start something and follow it through to completion.

My daughter is now 19 and a sophomore at the University of Washington. With the kids grown I've had much more time to myself and I've started writing. Although I didn't get to pursue my dream when I was young ---the dream remains strong and has resurfaced, propelling and prompting me to try.....just try and see what happens....

Obtaining her high school diploma has not only inspired Barbara to pursue her writing interests but has also improved her employment options and given her confidence to pursue a degree. Barbara is working for Group Health Cooperative, one of largest healthcare organizations, processing referral requests on-line from providers. She has continued on to Highline Community college and has 56 credits towards an AA degree. Congratulations Barbara! Keep pursuing your dreams!

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