My Motlow Story: Jesica Childers
There are various reasons why young people continue their education after high school. Some go to college seeking a degree for a specific career while others attend because it is what their parents expect of them. Jesica Childers' reason for attending Motlow is the driving force in her life. "I know that if I don't get a college education, I will end up in a nursing home."
Her statement portrays an uncommon worry for a 20-year-old. Not for Jesica, it's her reality. She has cerebral palsy and is wheelchair-bound for life. In her opinion, "If I don't get an education and make a way to earn an income to support myself one day, my future will be decided for me."
Jesica is the second-oldest of her siblings and the first one in her family to go to college. After high school she enrolled at a local university. The difficulties of getting around a large campus and commuting proved to be too great of a challenge. She enrolled at Motlow the next semester and began her journey of becoming a successful college student.
Before Jesica began taking classes at Motlow she contacted Disability Services and met with Sonya Hood, the director. Jesica recommends anyone with a disability to reach out to the department to learn more about available services and accommodations. In Jesica's case, because she lacks the dexterity to write, the department provided someone to help her with writing. Hood said, "Jesica is such a positive person. If you're not having a good day, you would after talking with her."
Jesica was accompanied by a certified nursing assistant (CNA) 11 hours a day, five to six days a week. Although the CNA traveled to school with her, she did not attend class with Jesica. The assistant shared her opinion of Jesica's determination, "I saw Jesica study until she was exhausted. She knows there's more to life than just her wheelchair and she's doing what it takes, and then some, to get there."
Jesica graduated in May with an associate's of art degree in history. She said her favorite Motlow class was American Government because, "It was a cool class to learn about laws and court cases." Her plans after Motlow are to continue her education and become a lawyer.
She has words of encouragement for others considering college, "I think people just need to try. If they try they will see what they are capable of. People can do great things, and I mean a lot more than just average."
Whether Jesica realizes it or not, she doesn't have to offer words of encouragement; her presence seems to be enough. A fellow student watching Jesica outside the library said, "Her cheerful smile is infectious. She is an inspiration on campus. I often think to myself, if she can do it, so can I."