Vivian Hardy (center), Chariti Guerra and Josh Shulkind hold an EMPOWER planning meeting.

Students Empowering Other Students

November 3, 2014

As the navigator of the Education to Employment Program, Josh Shulkind works to find resources for students in need, decreasing barriers to increase students’ success at Clover Park Technical College.

But Shulkind has found it’s not just him who can make that happen.

“We’re all resources,” he said. “While this is what I do for a living, we have students who have had to overcome challenges themselves. They can speak into other’s lives who are struggling.”

Vivian Hardy is one who speaks.

Hardy understands homelessness and the needs of parents. Hardy was teamed up with Shulkind through Health eWorkforce Navigator Patricia Lange, and found the resources she needed. Now she wants to help other students find the same success.

“I don’t have family here but they became my family,” Hardy said. “They helped navigate me through. I want to share that with other people.”

With Shulkind as an advisor, Hardy is president of a newly chartered CPTC club called EMPOWER (Elevating Many People On With Equal Resources).

The club serves as a support group to provide resources and life skills coaching for topics like budgeting and relationships. It’s not counseling, but rather an opportunity for students to connect and provide support for each other.

“It’s opening another door for growth and navigation of resources,” said Chariti Guerra. “It’s also reaching out to others who need the help as well.”

Guerra is one of about eight students who have been attending the weekly one-hour meetings since the group formed more than a month ago.

Shulkind and Hardy have a vision of the shape they’d like the group to take with guest speakers and events to benefit not only single parents but couples as well.

“There’s definitely equal opportunity here for everyone,” Hardy said. “It’s a safe place for them to come.”

EMPOWER meets every Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. in Building 23. For more information, email Hardy at hardy_vivian@yahoo.com.

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