The Community College Connection

Angela’s* Story

Today, buoyed by confidence she never thought she would have, Angela is a community college graduate at age 43. After moving with her kids, she is embarking on a four-year degree program at a UC campus. When she graduates, she plans to work with at-risk women and youth, which she once was. She credits the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law and her community college for helping to change her life, self-image, and her children’s lives because of the guidance, support and education they provided.

Earlier, after facing substance abuse, job loss, domestic violence, and temporary removal of her children, Angela started her life over at a community college. She separated from her abusive husband and thought she was safe from his violent temper, constant verbal humiliation, and psychological manipulation. But, he started stalking her again, and she feared he would kidnap their children to force her to return to him.

Angela tried going to court on her own, but she got lost in its intricacies and her case was dismissed. She found out about the Harriett Buhai Center’s monthly legal services office at her college and went for help. With direction from the Center’s staff lawyer and volunteers, she filed her case properly, represented herself in front of the judge, and obtained a divorce and sole custody of her children.

Later, after the court proceedings ended, Angela met the Harriett Buhai Center lawyer on campus. Rushing over to him, she told him of her acceptance to a prestigious UC school and thanked him for his help. “We need places like the Center,” she told him.


*Name and photo changed to protect client’s privacy.