Alise Hegle transformed from being homeless to college graduate
Alise Hegle is this year's Seattle Central Transforming Lives Award nominee and was also recognized by the American Bar Association as a National Reunification Hero.
She remembers what it felt like to be homeless and adrift in a drug–induced fog. She credits her inner strength and her education for creating a path that allows her to advocate for others in similar situations. "People need someone who believes in them, and in order for me to be there for others, I needed to receive an education," Alise said. "From the moment I sat down in a classroom, I was embraced by the faculty and students, and learned very quickly that people believed in me as I worked hard to believe in myself."
Alise earned an associate degree with honors from Seattle Central in 2012 and is now enrolled in the Applied Behavioral Science program. She is on track to graduate with a Bachelor of Applied Science in June and plans to use her education to help others who struggle with drugs, criminal backgrounds and child custody issues.
"I feel I have a purpose to assist others during their journey of change. That's because I remember what it feels like to live in darkness, to be homeless sleeping in the snow, and to not know if my daughter was ever coming home."
Her daughter was taken away by child protective services at birth and not returned until Alise successfully completed parenting and criminal court programs a year later. "The hard work paid off because on my 26th birthday, I was told I was going to get my daughter back." Since then she has focused her energies on attending college and raising her five–year–old daughter.
After receiving her bachelor's degree from Seattle Central, Alise plans to study for a master's degree in public administration to better advocate for policy changes to help families involved in the welfare system and the legal system. She feels her success story shows the formerly incarcerated can have a positive impact on society.