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Healing News August 1998

Healing News
August 1998

 Survey of Who We Are

 by Allison Werth 
 Feel like I'm in a cage 
 Just turn the page 
 Forget the stage 
 You're a pathetic creature 
 Guess you never had a teacher, 
 So you just decided to beat her. 
 Wish my name was Fred. 
 Why didn't you just shoot yourself in the head? 
 before you violated MY head, and MY bed. 
 You're nothing but a waste of human blood cells. 
 There were no whistles and bells to warn me; 
 Of the horror and rage 
 Pent up in your cage 
 Just turn the page 
 As the world forgets about you rotting in your 
 But I won't.................. 
  You WON'T Take Me  

 You can take my pride 
 You can scar my hide. 
 You can tie me up and throw me around, 
 And you can spit in my face while I'm  
 gagged and bound. 
 You can take away a piece of my sanity 
 And take my sense of security. 
 You can shatter my life 
 And take every shred of purity. 
 Lying on the floor with a knife in my heart, 
                     Allison A. Werth, 1997 

 Iím inside this box, lost in my own little world, just me, 
 Wishing to be a normal person, totally free. 
 Not enough room to move, and definitely no room to grow, 
 But if I stay in here, the real me, no one will ever know. 
 Itís safer to just keep this box locked tighter than a drum, 
 Then no one knows of my childhood abuse, or where I
 came from. 

 I have holes in the box, so I can breath, but only exist, 
 The fantasy of being happy is truly missed. 
 I have no freedom in this box, but also have no pain, 
 For my feelings are hidden and I donít have to feel insane. 
 Sometimes I wish someone would turn on the light, its dark
 in here, 

 But in order to see light, I would have to deal with the pain,
 rage and fear. 
 How do I do this, does anyone know? 
 How do I stay strong, and deal with the abuse so I can

 It is so dark in here, I canít see, 
 But I wouldnít be here if he would of just let me be. 
 I feel so trapped, so totally alone, do you have the key to get
 me out? 

 Can you help me to cope, give me a new route. 
 The way I have been coping isnít working at all, 
 All Iím doing is setting myself up for a big fall. 
 Can you open the lid so I can be free, and learn how to deal,

 Become a survivor, and begin to heal. 


 Allison A. Werth 
        LIMBS BOUND 
 Allison A. Werth  12-1-97

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 Rebecca L. Phillips

 "Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed."
                                 -Booker T. Washington

         Even though at times the light seemed dim, I have never lost sight of my vision--Especially the light at the end of the tunnel.  Obtaining a higher education has proven to be a difficult task. I have been a student at the University since 1991, and have served on the Residents' Council for Family Housing for several years. 

  I can't begin to tell you the appalling stories I have heard from residents on the difficulty achieving a higher education.  The University of Michigan attracts students of the highest caliber and enjoys a reputation as one of the finest institutions of higher learning.  

Yet the University falls short on one critical issue --To date, our University has not  fully acknowledged the needs of nontraditional students.  Recognizing the average student is no longer average is essential to all Michigan students and employees.  Every faculty, staff and student's life would be enriched by the attraction and retention of these diverse and increasingly growing non traditional student populations.

         During my school selection process, I was accepted by several of our country's finest institutions.  In my selection process, I asked myself three questions.  First, which of the institutions exhibited excellence in my field.  Second, which one could I afford to attend.  Third, which offered the best University Housing.  As a single parent, I deemed family living environment as critical to my decision as the University's
 academic credentials.  

  I also placed considerable emphasis on whether the universities were sensitive to the needs of single parents. The University Of Michigan  had the finest facilities.  However, at that time I didn't realize the institutional struggles nor did I realize the
 difficulty in securing, safe, reliable and affordable child care for my son. 

         During my first year at the University, I attempted to enroll my two-year-old son in over ten different child care facilities.  Many refused my child because he was under 30 months. 

   There was no full-time program for me on this campus, regardless of price, and that is still the case today; even off campus, there are limited options for this age group.  In most cases the tuition for my son surpassed my own.  Others had waiting lists that were many months in length.  This led me to
 utilize home day care facilities. 
         The main problem with home day care facilities is the lack of reliability.  For example, during finals week my child care provider canceled due to a family emergency.  This left me in a crisis situation.  My nearest family member was four hours away.  I contacted my professors; some were understanding, but not all.  I had one who actually insisted I attend and bring my two year old with me.  Out of respect for my fellow classmates, I didn't attend that exam and accepted the consequences. 

 This may be an extreme example of being stranded without care, but it is certainly not isolated, in my experience.  

 Despite my struggles, with faculty,  departmental requirements, and child care problems after two years I dropped out of school.  I could no longer keep up with the difficulties  and perform up to my potential in classes.  I took a year off and became a licensed child care provider to assist some of my fellow housing residents in the same bind.  

After that period, I again resumed my studies, only to be stymied by the same aforementioned issues.  After weighing the deplorable conditions of day care and the difficulty with institutional requirements verses the enormous investment I had already made in my education, in an effort to develop the job skills necessary to support my son, I felt I had no choice.  

I had to send my son to live with his grandparents, so that he
 could have 24 hour quality care and I could hopefully make nightly exams, study secessions and not violate the attendance requirements of my courses.  

No mother should be faced with this decision.  Separation
 from my son causes enormous stress in my life.  In order to maintain a relationship with him-- I commute nearly every weekend.  This isn't a hop, skip and jump away from the University--it is a four hour drive each way!  The emotional toll this has taken on  my family is overwhelming.  

  However, given my determination to complete my degree at
the University of Michigan, the situation was unavoidable.  I consider myself very blessed to have such dedicated parents within a day's drive to help me; not many people I know have this option.
         I have learned many valuable lessons being a single parent in pursuit of higher education.  None is so critical as the need to make tremendous sacrifices for those loved ones and things that are most important.  

My two priorities are my son and the completion of my education.  With the knowledge I have gained over the last nine years, if I were to start school selection over,  my choice would be dependent on how responsive the institution is to nontraditional students.  And, as things are at present, I would have to think long and hard about whether to pursue my education at Michigan.  

 The good news is the University is finally recognizing the
 nontraditional students importance and is finally making small steps towards making a higher education more accessible to non-traditional students.  These may be baby steps, but they are in the right direction.  In 1996,  I gave a speech to the University of Michigan Regents' in attempts to pass our child care scholarship program that Ms. Fiona Rose worked very hard to implement.    

The nontraditional student body's adulation for her efforts can not be placed into words. Without her assistance and dedication to all members of the student body ----in particularly for the non nontraditional students we would never have a scholarship fund to help with child care costs.  

  I would not have the honor of serving on the oversight committee implementing theses' scholarships.  Without her persistence, the archaic rule of purchasing student priced tickets to athletic events would not have been reviewed. 

 Prior to Fiona and I bring it to their attention single parents could not buy an extra ticket, for they were and I quote "not a family".  My simple complaint of wanting to take my son to a football game would never have made it possible for all single parents to have the option of a discount ticket -- formally known as a "spousal ticket " to athletic events.   

 She always encouraged me fight for what I believe.  I can not
 thank her enough!  Without my dedication  I never would have been able to see the joy in my son's face as we entered the stadium for his first football game.  I can' t begin to describe the pleasure watching him learn the "wave" and the "fight song" with other students. 

 Because Fiona and I had a vision we tackled departments at the University to make them more "nontraditionaly" responsive.  We discovered it was primarily a lack of understanding of the community.  

In many area's success was great other times the disappointment was heart wrenching.   This is exactly what led me to wanting this Prism subject so strongly.

 The most disappointing moment came this winter term , I can not sign up for classes--my last two semesters--I can't afford.  For ten years I battled many illnesses with my son and myself, and they continue now. 

 Yet, I never stopped trying to finish my education.  Faithfully
 registering every chance I had to work towards my degree.  Little did I know that my "never giving up" attitude would prove to hurt me in the end.  

 You see Financial Aid  is only offered for 10 semesters,
 regardless of circumstances.  So now,  after enduring many maladies I have two semesters before graduation and can not afford to continue.  

,I forced into the decision that has never hurt me more, to drop out of school in order to work full-time and pray I will be able to finish my degree another time.  Regardless, how dim the light may seem --I will never give up my vision. 

         Not all non-traditional students encounter defeating conditions, many beat the odds.  None so impressive as, Ms. Bethenaia Owens-Adair who studied at the University of Michigan and graduated from Medical School in 1880.  This was a historical event not only because she was a woman, but  she was also a single-parent.   

She has been my inspiring light since the day I learned of her heroism.  It came to me in the mail  from my favorite Aunt. It was a book entitled "women of the west" with the inscription in the cover directing me to her story.   

She always encouraged me,  especially after each set back.  I thank God each day for her love.   

 Most of my immediate family has given up on me completing my education and becoming a "success" in their eyes--But, I haven't.
 Many people have different definitions of success.  I wish to leave you with one that I live by and will always remember.-- Booker T. Washington's famous words that began my story.  

 I have succeeded!  I may not have my degree--22 credits short,  but I have come a long way and overcome more obstacles than any other I know.   I personally believe I have succeeded with or without a degree.   I will never give up my vision -- graduation is just temporarily postponed. I am an undeafted spirit.

         MY admiration goes out to all who taught me over the last 28 years. The arcane lore of an education must never be disregarded lightly.  I have learned from the finest scholars in the world; I will continue to allow others to light their candles from the many classes that elucidated my education.  I never look at the last ten years as a loss, for an education is never a waste only stepping stones to the future.  

 My 9 year-old son can be proud to know I did my best and will never stop trying to make a higher education more accessible for me and others- especially nontraditional students.  My son is my true love and light of encouraging inspiration.



  None of this newsletter is supposed to be a substituted for professional help. There are many lists of sources on  the web and in your local areas. It is merely offered as hope from survivors to survivors. Should you feel as though you would benefit from professional support you are urged to seek help locally. 

  This newsletter is dependent upon your submissions. If anyone wishes to subit an article,poetry, quote or share a humorous joke or story please send it to HealingNews-queue@listbot.com or to  gayle@hopeforhealing.org to be included in the next newsletter. Put "Healing News" into the subject line.

 If you don't hear back from me please resend it. Not hearing back means it's usually lost in cyberspace. 

 Until next time!

 Gayle Crabtree

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