No More Hanging Out at the Bottom of the Food Chain
Porschea Bowdre was tired of hitting a promotional ceiling in her professional career. As a correctional facility employee, Bowdre had all the experience necessary for a position in parole but was missing one thing – a degree.
An obviously social person, Bowdre never saw nor experienced education as an island. Referred to SJVC by her sister, she came to the Criminal Justice program on SJVC’s Hesperia campus and “enjoyed it from day one.”
“I tell people about it all the time it’s great…there’s someone there to help you,” says Bowdre. [SJVC’s] dedication to helping students here is almost like a snowball effect because whatever class you go into there’s always someone who says ‘Well if you need help I can help you,’ so everyone here is like one big team.”
Previous to starting at SJVC, Bowdre felt intimidated – as a 29-year-old mom, school was going to be a big change. One of the biggest hurdles for Bowdre in the beginning was finances.
“It’s like you pay for your household – basically your rent, your car, and I’m a single mother of one so it’s like ‘Well my kid needs shoes but hey, I also need a uniform shirt’ so what do you do?”
However, it was Bowdre and the SJVC students’ commitment to community that yet again proved education is not an island.
“Like I said everyone here is a team. The CJ program started putting on bake sales and carwashes, anything to help one another out. You need help with uniform money? Boom we’re going to put on a carwash and all the CJ students are out there washing cars. So the transition was rather smooth but I’m not going to say I didn’t have any hurdles.”
Bowdre looks forward to graduation and returning to the corrections field – but “no more hanging out at the bottom of the food chain!” she says. Bowdre will look for a supervisory position after school as well as look to continue her education.
Some days it’s work to stay motivated, but there are plenty of encouragements for Bowdre. As a committed CJ profession, Bowdre see the inherent service in her work.
“A lot of people look at it [criminal justice] just as an authority or a controller. I look at it as helping my community; I’m keeping the bad guys in to help my victims feel safer at night. I look at it as almost community service.”
And most importantly, she sees the long-run benefits of her education for her daughter. She encourages students to “keep your heads up. There’s always light at the end of that tunnel, always is, never fails. Things that come into our life are just things that are trying to distract us from getting to our goal, but if you continue to focus on your main thing then you’re going to get there.”
What’s your encouragement to other students who might be struggling or trying to figure out if they are going to come back?
“Definitely whatever they are going through, I don’t know what works for them but what works for me is I pray. But I will assure them that being here, there’s someone here who cares! If you don’t think that anyone cares, someone here cares and you know what I care! So if you need me to come in to help you with your study plan, you need me to come in to help with studying anything for a test or a quiz I’ll come in. All of us here have a phone list with everyone’s number. We took it down, like hey we’ll text each other. Hey make sure your boots are shined, Hey were doing this, Hey we’re going to be studying on this time on Sunday. We meet outside of class; we don’t just come in and meet Monday through Thursday. We meet on the weekends and we’ll help each other. So I would tell that student, if you need help call me. I’m here for you. If you feel like no one cares, I care because I’m making my time available to you because someone’s made their time available to me and that’s what you need. You need that support.”
Do you have any hobbies that you do on the side that people don’t know about?
I’m a loner. I pretty much just spend time with my daughter. I’m at church every Sunday. I cook, I cook at church, and I cook big Sunday dinners for the congregation. I put together food boxes for the homeless. We’ll get different boxes donated to us from other companies and we’ll put them together and whatever food that we get in for that week we’ll put them together and make sure the families get an equal amount. Other than that I’m an ice-cream fanatic. I love ice-cream. I really love Ben and Jerry’s Turtle Soup and I’m so upset because they quit selling that up here, and the nearest Turtle Soup is in Santa Anna can you believe that!? But I’ve settled for the Dove chocolate bars.
Congratulations Porschea on your graduation from SJVC this past fall – we are so proud to call you one of our alumni!
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