ACC staff pays off tuition debt for once homeless teen


Austin Community College wants Lyric Wardlow back in school. Members of the ACC Cabinet, campus operations and public affairs departments pooled donations and paid off $332 in Pell grant debt that Wardlow owed when she needed to drop out of classes after a family member died.

Now the once-homeless teen can restart school with a clean slate. The student services and special populations services departments also are working with Wardlow and her advocate at LifeWorks, the nonprofit agency that nominated her for the Statesman Season for Caring program, about other solutions to help Wardlow return to school.

Wardlow is one of 12 families featured in the Statesman Season for Caring program this year. The program helps the featured families first, but then helps hundreds of other families throughout the year with basic needs such as rent, utilities, food, clothing, medical needs and transportation.

Wardlow, 19, and her mother became homeless when Wardlow was 9. She quit high school to care for her mom, who has mental illness and hoarding tendencies. Wardlow, though, is resilient. Through Goodwill Industries, she got her high school equivalency degree and even gave a speech at her graduation.

She is trying hard to be self-sufficient by working in a roller-skating rink to make ends meet, but an education would help her further her goals.

“I want to be successful,” she said. “I want to be a beautiful, confident, black woman in this age. I don’t want to go to the store and wonder if there’s enough money in my bank account.”

She has become an advocate for homeless people and would like to continue that professionally.

Her biggest need is tuition assistance to restart school. She also would like health insurance, gas cards, bus passes, cat food, cat litter, a gym membership, a bedroom furniture set, lamps, a vacuum cleaner, organizational bins and gift cards. To help, contact LifeWorks, 512-735-2400, lifeworksaustin.org.

Two other Season for Caring families also need help getting into school or staying in school.

Jazmyne Johnson, 24, is the mother of 4-year-old twin girls and a 3-year-old boy. One of her twins has microcephaly, which means her head didn’t grow large enough to fit her brain. Johnson would like to go to college to pursue a career in biotechnology. She needs help with tuition as well as a car to get her to school and her children to their HeadStart program. She also needs help with day care expenses and everyday bills so she can go to school. To help, contact Opportunities for Williamson and Burnet Counties, 512-763-1400, opportunitiesforwbc.org.

Sisters Samanta Osorio Negron, 25, and Mayleth Aguilar Negron, 18, have been trying to go to Austin Community College. Their father died in a car accident last December, and Osorio Negron was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in January. Osorio Negron hopes to be well enough to re-enroll in business and finance classes, and Aguilar Negron wants to continue with real estate classes. She works in a restaurant to help her family pay their bills after the loss of their father. They also need a used car and car repairs to their existing car, a computer, and a math tutor for their 10-year-old brother, Luis. To help, contact Foundation Communities, 512-610-7391, foundcom.org.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

White says with Straus out as speaker, Texas will be a ‘runaway truck’
White says with Straus out as speaker, Texas will be a ‘runaway truck’

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew White said Saturday that it is imperative for Democrats to take the Governor’s Mansion in 2018 because otherwise, with the departure of Joe Straus as speaker of the House, Texas government will be a “runaway truck without anyone able to hit the brakes.” “Over and over, Speaker Straus...
Hundreds of Austin protesters jeer Trump, cheer women’s rights
Hundreds of Austin protesters jeer Trump, cheer women’s rights

Hundreds of protesters swarmed downtown Austin on Saturday to call for President Donald Trump’s impeachment, stand up for women’s rights — including access to abortion — and encourage voter participation at the second annual Women’s March. The march in Austin was one of numerous such events throughout the country, including...
Activist arrested at Austin rally among those cleared in D.C. riots
Activist arrested at Austin rally among those cleared in D.C. riots

A Texas freelance photographer and activist who was acquitted last month of rioting charges in connection with President Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration was arrested Saturday at the anti-Trump rally in Austin. Alexei Wood, 37, was handcuffed after a dust-up at the rally outside Austin City Hall, where hundreds of protesters called for impeaching...
Police: Maine man punches himself in face to avoid sobriety test 
Police: Maine man punches himself in face to avoid sobriety test 

Police have accused a Maine man of punching himself several times in the face to avoid a Breathalyzer test, The Bangor Daily News reported. Police suspected Brian Fogg, 27, of Belfast, to be intoxicated when they were called to a residence on Jan. 13 and found Fogg’s vehicle stuck in a ditch, police said. Belfast police said Fogg and...
FORECAST: Patchy fog in morning followed by sunshine
FORECAST: Patchy fog in morning followed by sunshine

A winter reprieve is finally here. Saturday will bring patchy fog before noon, then sunshine, according to the National Weather Service. The service warns that there may be dense fog, which could decrease visibility. Visibility is still less than a mile for most places along Interstate 35 and areas east and south of there. The day, which will begin...
More Stories