Moving from hopelessness to giving others hope
Southern Wesleyan University online business student Patrice Cleveland works for the School District of Oconee County and is also a lead/coordinator for Children’s Trust, a partnered program in Oconee County.
Getting to where she is now has been a rough, bumpy road. Before learning about Ripple of One, Cleveland felt her life was at a standstill.
“I was stuck, my back was against the wall and I had no plan on moving forward,” said Cleveland, a single mother who relied on unemployment compensation and government assistance.
“Despite my situation, I had goals for a brighter future; not only for me, but for my children,” said Cleveland.
As a student, Cleveland had been an honor roll student, maintaining A and B grades, but she quit school while in the ninth-grade and started working fulltime at a local restaurant. Desperate for money, she would turn to selling drugs.
Looking back, Cleveland says, “My actions did not align with my perspective.”
“I made more money selling drugs, so I quit my job after one year. My repetitive actions continued until I lost two of my children and was tired of going to jail,” Cleveland said. “A part of me died, but God had plans for me. I wanted better and I was hungry for something different this time.”
When Cleveland discovered Ripple of One (rippleofone.org), she had the keen sense God was speaking to her. Ripple of One is a nonprofit organization that empowers families to move beyond government assistance and into realizing their God-given potential.
“I prayed that I was making the right decision, due to some trust issues I dealt with along my journey. I joined the program and started moving like lightning. The energy was like a waterfall,” Cleveland said. “I entered a financial freedom course that I was in desperate need of, since I had no savings, nor knew how to budget my finances. Ripple would match my money that I would put in my savings, which led me to meet my monthly budget. Today, I have continued this habit I started while in the program.”
Cleveland is grateful to be off of government assistance and now is financially stable and owns her own home. She earned her associate’s degree in administration office technology from Tri-County Technical College (TCTC), where she was also nominated to the National Society of Leadership. She is currently enrolled in SWU’s online business program with a concentration in human resources.
Describing her SWU experience, Cleveland says, “Being an online student is convenient for me at this time, due that I have to work fulltime and a full-time parent. I am very big on education, so I make certain that I meet all requirements. She’s grateful to professors and others – especially the staff of SWU’s TRiO Student Support Services, whom she says have been “more than supportive.” As an online business major, Cleveland’s concentration is in human resource management.
Cleveland confidently declares, “My perspective now aligns with my actions and dreams.”
For details about SWU Online, visit swu.edu/online.
Southern Wesleyan University is a Christ-centered, student-focused learning community devoted to transforming lives by challenging students to be dedicated scholars and servant-leaders who impact the world for Christ. For details about degree programs, go online to swu.edu.