For Evette Smith, from Chicago’s Cabrini Green housing projects, a door was closed and a new one open as she walked across Gateway Technical College's stage and graduate recently.
Smith many years of prostitution, drug addiction and mental illness, never kept her from having hope. "My grandmother told me that one day I would be something or somebody. And I have always had that thought in my mind. When I found God in my life, that when He set me down and told me what I need to do, and that what I have done.
Recently the 45-year-old Racine grandmother took a incrible step toward improving her future. Smith believes graduating from Gateway with a human services associate degree will help her move away from the day's she dropped out of high school at the age of 15 and from the last time she was committed to the Winnebago Mental Health Institute in Oshkosh. "I want to continue some of the achievements in life that I have all ways wanted to accomplish."
Smith who speaks openly about her past, started at Gateway not long after being released from Winnebago, where she spent six years after stabbing a Racine police officer in 2000 when she was off her medication.
Smith says she wants to reach out to others so that they do not have to go through the thing she has had to face growing up. She calls herself a helper and wanting to help others was the main reason she choose the Gateway’s human services program. Smith understands what other are going through and she hopes to share some of what she’s experienced with those in a similar situation. She tell them, "You can succeed no matter what you been through. The key is to have determination and know that God is with you each step of the way."