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A retired grandmother. An image of a woman sitting and knitting quietly on the porch comes to mind, right? Not this grandmother!!! Barbara Blunt is a self-described “mover-and-shaker.” After 25 years as a home health aide, a restful retirement may seem in order. But Ms. Blunt had no plans to stay at home. Instead, she enrolled in college upon seeing a sign for the ACE program at a church in the neighborhood. For Barbara, it was a natural next step to gain the skills for her “retirement” career – a real estate business. “I knew I needed more education.” 

Alongside her enrollment in college was Ms. Blunt’s election to serve as President of the Board of the Senior Citizen Council in her senior housing complex. Expressions of surprise at her from other members regarding her enrollment in college were met with a strong smile and the solid encouragement, “You can do it too.” Ms. Blunt put the skills she was learning in Human Services classes immediately to work, helping residents to solve problems and representing them at public meetings. “The program prepared me to do what I love most – helping people.”

Ms. Blunt became an integral part of the supportive atmosphere she found at the partnership site. Instructors, staff, and students were always helping each other to succeed. She was able to share her opinions, knowledge, and goals which strengthened her confidence while earning a degree.

While Ms. Blunt notes the inspiration she gained through the aspirations and achievements of her classmates, she has inspired generations of her family to further their education. “I am the mother of two and grandmother of 12. Almost all of my grandchildren have gone to college or aspire to go. My daughter tells me, “Mom that’s because of you.”