Submitted by Kate Nichols
When a person displays immense tenacity, resilience, and perseverance in the face of a challenge, it is impossible for such traits to go unnoticed. Michael Deegan, Adult Education Instructor at Coastal Pines Technical College (CPTC), observed just this kind of determination in one of his students in the GED program who, lacking any other form of transportation, walks over three miles each way to attend her classes.
“She is a hardworking and driven mother that is determined to obtain her GED and matriculate into the college here at Coastal Pines, but she faces many obstacles,” explained Mr. Deegan.
He went on to say that, while the program offers a virtual option and provides use of a laptop at no cost, the student in unable to take advantage of this because she does not have internet access at home. Further, she cannot afford to utilize alternate transportation, such as Wayne County Transit. Instead, she treks an hour and fifteen minutes each way to attend class in person.
“As residents of Jesup, we all know how hot it gets in July and August, so six miles round trip is brutal, but she does her best to attend class as much as possible,” said Mr. Deegan, who started ensuring he had cold, bottled water on hand when the fatigued student arrived at school.
Recently, the student has been forced to leave her evening class early to avoid walking home in the dark, missing valuable instruction time. Mr. Deegan knew that there had to be a way to help the student get to class, and that’s when the idea of a bicycle came to him.
Guynell Grant, Career Services Specialist with the Adult Education Program at CPTC, presented the need for the bike at the monthly Wayne County Family Connection Collaborative meeting on September 27. Within 24 hours, the bicycle was procured.
Fair Haven, the local non-profit that provides shelter and support to women facing domestic violence, generously provided the bicycle. It was purchased from the Fair Haven Market, which is well-known for helping survivors of domestic violence obtain necessities for a fresh start. However, the abundant generous donations from community members have made it possible for the Market to broaden its scope and commit to serving anyone in need—like this determined student.
Family Connection provided new innertubes for the bicycle’s tires, and Mr. Deegan repaired the tires over the weekend. Mr. Deegan presented the bike to the student when she attended class on Monday night. The bicycle will cut the student’s commute by more than half, allowing her to arrive on campus faster, stay in class longer, and get home to her children sooner.
“It was so inspiring the collaborative come together so quickly to collectively address this need and arrive at a solution, and is a wonderful example of the purpose of this organization. We wish the student the best in all of her educational pursuits,” said Lana Wright, Wayne County Family Connection Executive Director.
If you or your organization would like to join the Wayne County Family Connection collaborative and promote initiatives for a healthier, safer, stronger Wayne County, reach out to Wayne County Family Connection Executive Director, Lana Wright at 912-256-2150 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.