Gill-Tech: At First it was Only a Dream

Gill-Tech: At First it was Only a Dream

This inspiring story was sent to us from one of our member schools, Gill-Tech, in Appleton, Wisconsin. The following was taken from their Newsletter:

When Sandra Wagner accepted her new position as Gill- Tech’s Admissions Director, she already had a prior commitment: to meet her father in the Ukraine for a working vacation. She never imagined that the collision of these two events would turn into The Dream Project.

Sandra was excited about the opportunity she was about to have working with The Hope Center, an extension of the U. S. group Global Action. The Hope Center is a non-profit educational facility that takes in orphans and helps mentor young women looking for sustainable careers. Currently, the lack of education and resources available to young women results in these women turning to abusive relationships or prostitution to support themselves.

As Sandra prepared to leave, President of Gill-Tech, Sheryl Fisk, expressed her interest in doing something to help the situation for young women in the Ukraine. This thought by Sheryl set the dream in motion.

Sandra was unprepared for what she was about to encounter. She found the situations of the women more dire than she could have imagined. She quickly became involved in a mentoring project that the Educational Director of The Hope Center was working on. The Director was trying to come up with skilled professions that the women could learn at the orphanage and then take back to their villages as a way of supporting themselves long term.

Unaware of the position that Sandra had recently accepted with Gill- Tech, The Hope Center’s Educational Director thought the career of cosmetology would be a good option for the women. Sandra thought to herself “Wouldn’t it be great if we could bring one of these women to the U. S. to learn the trade of cosmetology at Gill- Tech?” Sandra couldn’t get the dream out of her mind.
Sometimes dreams take a little perseverance, as Sandra would quickly find out when encountering obstacles in bringing over a student that did not speak English, had no support system or reason to go back to the Ukraine after she completed her training. These obstacles led to the decision to train Anya, an interpreter for The Hope Center, who would come to Gill- Tech and learn the career and take it back to the women at the orphanage. Anya had a favorable family life in the Ukraine and a support system to return to . . . and Anya was comfortable with the English language. The project was beginning to have momentum.

The next step was finding a way to bring an exchange student over the border to study at Gill-Tech. Enter Homeland Security . . . not as easy as dreaming it so. With the help of Fox Valley Technical College and Marie Martin, who came up with the option that FVTC could subcontract with Gill-Tech to educate the student, the dream was kept alive–Anya came to Gill-Tech to study and the Dream Project was born.

Anya will study at Gill-Tech for the next year, and live with a host family during her stay in the U. S.

Upon graduation, Anya will return to the Ukraine and assist in creating a cosmetology education program at the Hope Center. The program will consist of vocational training for 15-20 young women, combined with training for practical life skills such as: cooking, laundry and financial responsibility. After completing the program, the young women will continue to receive mentoring through the Hope Center as they build a life for themselves outside the Center’s walls.

Gill-Tech will continue to research ways to remain involved in the effort to help these young Ukrainian women. Currently, there are at least three Gill-Tech students interested in traveling to the Ukraine to help start up the cosmetology program. The hope is that Gill-Tech Academy, FVTC and the Hope Center can create a program that will educate the young women of the Ukraine, as well as train the young women of the U. S. to reach beyond their boarders and help their fellow females realize their dreams. For more information about The Dream Project contact Admissions Director, Mz. Sandra.

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