A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Brighton Center 50 Years, 50 Stories; CET student learns she is ‘good enough,’ can be a contributor

As part of its 50th Anniversary Celebration this year, Brighton Center has introduced a “50 Years, 50 Stories” series to highlight some of the customers, volunteers, donors, community partners or supporters who are part of its history. The Northern Kentucky Tribune has partnered with Brighton Center to share some of those firsthand accounts with our readers.

In the coming weeks, the Trib will publish individual stories that demonstrate the breadth of services Brighton Center provides in Northern Kentucky. Occasionally some slight edits may be made in the text and, to protect confidentiality, we might only provide the first name of the storyteller.

These testimonials, however, describe some of the programs and services Brighton Center has provided in its first 50 years, in the words of the people who have benefited from them.

“I have always had hopes and dreams, but I never believed so many would become a reality,” Samantha

Before I came to Brighton Center’s Center for Employment Training (CET), I struggled with a lifelong belief that I wasn’t really good enough.

brighton-center-50-years-sammanthaI had skills, but none that were sharply developed. I’ve always sort of been a jack of all trades with a fear of success.

I have never thought of myself as patient, but I guess hope is a form of patience and having hope can be a miracle. Hope that things would get better someday was all I had to dream by.

I was working a temp job that I hated because it was far too physically strenuous for my body to handle, and a co-worker took the time to notice my pain and asked me why I didn’t get an office job. I replied that I didn’t have the skills, and she told me about CET.

She said she regretted that she didn’t finish the program and urged me to look into it. I would love to see her now and thank her for pointing out the path that would change my life. I would do all I could to convince her to return.
At the beginning of my journey here, I was determined to shine.

I wanted a better life and I felt like this was my last chance since traditional college hadn’t worked for me. My Associate Degree and awards from art school never seemed to get me anywhere. I wanted to be perfect, and I became discouraged and withdrawn with each mistake I made.

However, I found the staff and my fellow students to be very supportive and forgiving. I started to learn that I didn’t have to be perfect to do well; I just had to do my best.

One of my greatest barriers has always been the fear of saying the wrong thing, of looking stupid, or offending someone unintentionally. I would obsess over a simple conversation for days, analyzing everything I said and how it might have been interpreted.

As I observed my fellow students interact during Success Skills, I realized they weren’t judging each other, and they weren’t judging me.
I began to realize that I had gone through life with a negative attitude, and I started changing and growing.

I began actively trying to build relationships with positive people, and I began working cooperatively as part of a group for the first time.

I found that the parts of me which I had always tried to hide could in fact be shared in a tactful and appropriate way, and that allowed me to open up and be myself without fear. I learned to define myself and what success means to me in a new way.

I no longer felt like a damsel in distress in need of rescuing. I began to feel like a strong individual and a partner to the good, supportive man who had become part of my life only a year before I began CET.

Brighton Center has impacted every facet of my life.

My personal relationships have grown more positive as I have learned to accept and expect positivity from myself and others. Although I began rather self-absorbed, I have enjoyed seeing my fellow students grow into outgoing and positive friends.

PrintI get an amazing feeling of capability when I can help someone work through and understand projects from the curriculum, and I have learned to accept help from others.

The Conflict Management workshop really impressed upon me the wisdom to say, ‘It’s not you versus me, it’s us versus the problem;’ a perspective which has become common in my household during disagreements.

I have always had hopes and dreams, but I never believed so many would become a reality. I have learned to accept good things for myself, and to embrace the challenges of success.

Now, as I prepare to leave CET and begin a career with a reputable company, I am quickly realizing new hopes and dreams, and gleefully naming them goals.

I want to start a college fund for my young daughter, and work towards getting her into a good school. I never want her to feel like she isn’t good enough to achieve goals.

I want to give back to my family and community, and continue building and growing with the wonderful man who has stood by me through my journey. Although I am afraid of the unknown challenges, I now have the courage and skills to face them one day at a time.

From its beginning in 1966 as a modest Newport storefront, Brighton Center has grown to provide a range of programs and services which include meeting basic needs, adult and early childhood education, workforce development, substance abuse recovery for women, affordable housing, financial education and counseling, and neighborhood based programs.

Last year Brighton Center impacted the lives of 60,892 individuals from infants to senior citizens through 37 programs in Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati

For more information about Brighton Center and its programs and services, or to become a volunteer, click here http://www.brightoncenter.com/

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