Aarie Lee, 44, BeLit Graduate & Harcum College Learner

Aarie Lee, 44, has a lot on her plate. By day, she works a full-time job as a Philadelphia Police Dispatcher. By night, she helps care for her daughter and 8-month-old granddaughter. Having already earned her High School Equivalency at BeLit, Aarie is also an experienced adult learner. When she came across a post on BeLit’s social media page about furthering her postsecondary education, she decided to make room in her already busy schedule to enroll in BeLit’s Harcum College partner program to earn her Associate Degree in Human Services.

Thanks to our partnership, Harcum College provides BeLit grads with special scholarships and reduced tuition to their Associate’s Degree programs. In return, BeLit’s Student Support Team assist our grads with their Harcum applications and serve as on-call guidance counselors throughout the two-year degree program. BeLit Student Support Coach, Kieran Farrell, was by Aarie’s side during her entire postsecondary experience serving as an encouraging advocate for her success. “Kieran is amazing. She actually cares,” Aarie says. “I love that she still checks in on me and that I’m not just a number.”

Likewise, Kieran has enjoyed watching Aarie advance in her studies. She explains, “Aarie is an exemplary student in our Harcum College partner program. She’s maintained a positive, engaged presence since her initial application. Not only do her excellent grades and class performance demonstrate her strengths as a student, but earning those grades while maintaining a demanding job and managing life’s many challenges shows her overall strengths as a person.”

Aarie completed her first semester on the President’s List with a 4.0 grade point average (GPA) and earned a $2,000 grant for maintaining her excellent GPA throughout the Fall semester. When she graduates next year, Aarie hopes that by furthering her education, she can pay these opportunities forward to other women struggling to afford higher education.

With her daughter as inspiration, Aarie’s goal after earning her degree in Human Services is to champion pregnant teens in Philadelphia’s underserved communities by opening her own facility for those who lack access to financial, emotional, or educational support. “There are a lot of girls who don’t have a village,” Aarie says. “At first it was overwhelming, but I had to learn to prioritize so I can be my best and give my best. This program and its people are a godsend.”

Want to learn more about our partnership with Harcum College? Contact Kieran at [email protected] for more information.

Read the full January newsletter, The BeLit Bulletin here: https://conta.cc/3Xi0iDu

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