Jennifer’s GED Goals Inspire Multiple Generations

Jennifer enrolled in Takoda GED to advance her career and inspire her children and grandchildren to do the same.

Ivy Estenson

Jennifer, an Ojibwe and Pueblo student from New Mexico enrolled in Takoda GED after her husband passed away. She decided that she no longer wanted to live in depression after mourning the loss of her husband, who was the leader and motivator of her family of six.

Jennifer was working part time as an Administrative Assistant and was working with an employment counselor who kept telling her, “have you gone to check out Takoda yet?”

“One day I just woke up after putting it off for three months and asked myself, ‘what am I going to do today?’ I must be a productive role model for my grandbabies and kids, so that they can see me doing something,” says Jennifer.

Here, we are family and we are connected because we all want the same thing – growth, knowledge and to be able to provide for our families.

That day, Jennifer enrolled in Takoda GED and attends at least 40 hours a week, when she’s not working or sick. What’s helped her stick with it, she says, is the support she receives from the staff and the Native elders who work at Takoda. “With the staff, it’s not just about school and the programs. They really care about you and do what they can to support you. The Native elders that I see around here make me feel like I am at home. All communities need our elders to guide us. To see them working here is something that you don’t see in a lot of places.” Jennifer said.

According to Jennifer, what makes Takoda special is how it ties Native cultural practices while simultaneously welcoming people from all backgrounds. “We don’t shy away from our cultural practices like smudging. Burning sage is spiritual and helps a lot of people get through tough days and times. Now I see all different kinds of people coming in here smudging. I love that we are really a community that welcomes everyone. I have been to other organizations where you know that you are only allowed in so far. Here, we are family and we are connected because we all want the same thing – growth, knowledge and to be able to provide for our families.”