For Joyce, hope was always just out of reach. Her father abandoned the family before Joyce was born. Her mother, so overwhelmed by poverty and motherhood, left Joyce with her grandmother when she was just a few days old. Joyce spent her childhood in a home filled with alcohol and need. She found an escape in school, but with no encouragement or support, each day was a struggle.
“When I was with my grandmother, it was difficult to study,” says Joyce. “My grandmother would not like me to study at night especially when she was drunk. But I was determined to do my best, knowing that education would give me the bright future I need. I did not allow myself to be discouraged by what was happening around me.”
How is a child to retain hope when she only knows uncertainty? When she feels like a burden? For Joyce, her wavering hope was reignited when she was 7 years old and joined the TAG Calvary Temple Student Center.
Joyce had always been a good student, and the tutoring and opportunities at the center propelled her to the top of her class. But she still felt weighted down by her family history and the poverty that had held generations captive.
“[At the center] they used to teach us that if we worship God we will prosper,” says Joyce. “The teaching sunk deep in me for some time. In 2005 when I was in class seven, I committed my life to Christ. I want to learn how to walk with God and feel his presence every time. I want that which I do to be done in the perfect will of God. I developed a great passion and reverence to God and I felt that I am a rich even though I had come from a poor background.”
Today, Joyce has found healing with her mother and grandmother. And as a student in Compassion’s Leadership Development Program, she is studying education in hopes of helping other children in poverty find the hope that eluded her for so long.
“I want to be a teacher who makes a difference,” says Joyce. “I want them to know that they can achieve their life dream. And that is why I want to be a teacher. Being a teacher will give me a great avenue to talk not only with students but with many other people and influence them in a positive way. I can talk with parents and help them know that the students can succeed it if they are encouraged.”