For Elizabethtown Community and Technical College (ECTC) nursing student Carlie Fogle, Family Scholar House (FSH) has been a lifeline and a catalyst for change. It’s forged new opportunities and built relationships that have put her on the path to a brighter future.
“FSH is a little push to get people on their feet, to let them know they have a support system, and to show them they have the power to accomplish anything,” Fogle said. “Without the organization, I would still be an anxious, financially unstable, lost adult. I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Fogle, a 2022 high school graduate, received straight A’s in her first semester at ECTC. She chose to study nursing because she wanted to have a career in the medical field while helping people. Nursing provides that.
“At first, I was afraid of nursing,” she said. “I doubted myself and thought I was too anxious and shy, but the more I do it the more I enjoy it. It’s challenging, but I can’t grow without challenging myself.”
Fogle has not always had the easiest life. She grew up in a single-parent household and experienced complications like financial insecurity, mental illness, and unstable relationships. Her mom worked a minimum wage job while raising three kids, and the family received food bags from school to hold them over throughout the weekend.
“We were in the situation where an 88-cent candy bar was a big treat,” she said. “I’ve had to work harder to have the same opportunities that other people are just given, but it’s motivated me and has built my work ethic.”
Fogle first visited FSH because she knew they provided gas cards to students in need. She was relying on her mother to drive her to class and funds for fuel weren’t always available. For many students, dependable transportation can be the only barrier standing in the way of completing coursework. If they can’t even get to class, it’s hard to have a successful semester.
Once in the FSH office, Fogle realized that the organization offered so much more than simple gas cards. After meeting with Lynnette Kennedy, FSH Regional Coordinator at ECTC, Fogle set specific, accomplishable goals that would help her improve her situation. The first – is gainful employment. Not only did she find a position in the healthcare industry, which is on par with her program of study, but she also got a second job as an FSH Peer Counselor.
“FSH helps people in high poverty levels, and I am able to bring the knowledge I have to work efficiently and help more people,” Fogle said. “Working there, sharing with them, creates a family atmosphere, a bond that you cherish. I love connecting with people and helping to make someone’s life better and I hope I can build connections and further others along in their life, creating roots of success just like the organization and gracious people have done for me.”
Once she found employment, Fogle set her sights on learning to drive, which required expensive driving lessons. Help came in the form of Dr. John and Julia DuPlessis, who are frequent and notable supporters of ECTC and its students. In addition to creating the ECTC Culinary Arts Scholarship, they also are regular contributors to FSH, including donating to the organization’s food pantry. Dr. DuPlessis heard Fogle speak at an event in support of FSH and wanted to help, so he funded her driving lessons.
“That really helped because I could put that money toward my college classes,” she said. “The DuPlessis family are so generous. I hope one day I can be just as successful and be able to help others in the same way. Being around successful and kind people, I see them and want to be just like them.”
Fogle wants people to know that it’s okay to ask for assistance when they’re in a difficult situation or struggling to continue their education because of life barriers.
“People have the power to accomplish anything, but sometimes they need someone’s hand to hold or a little help along the way,” she said. “FSH is here for you. It doesn’t make you any less of a person. I wouldn't be as equipped to achieve my goals as I am now without both FSH and the DuPlessis family. People are so willing to give help.”