Sabryna Hamilton moved to Greensboro, NC in 2005 to be closer to her aging parents. After a 20- year career as a senior litigation legal assistant, the move meant a new beginning.
An advertisement for a part-time career coach position at Danville Community College (DCC), some academic advising experience and an application later, Hamilton was jumping feet-first into a new career in education. Today, Hamilton is a full-time career coach with the Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative (RVHI), assigned to three high schools in Danville, working with over 350 students from sophomores to seniors. Talk to her for five minutes and you will understand her passion for helping these students transition to post-secondary education or career fields.
When Hamilton first meets with a student, she introduces herself and the RVHI by showing the student a drawing
of Virginia with the horseshoe going through the state. She wants students to understand the real need for people in southeast Virginia to finish high school, pursue secondary education, and then begin careers that will help enhance the economy of Danville and surrounding areas.
There are many services Hamilton provides to students – dual enrollment opportunities through DCC, tuition information, help in finding funding for post-secondary education, and information on degree and certification programs at DCC. She introduces the students to the Virginia Wizard or administers a paper copy interest assessment. From that point on, she helps them develop career plans.
“It means an awful lot to me to help these kids personally. I have developed a passion for it. I sometimes worry I may be seen as older than some of their parents but I think I bring a wisdom to it. I’ve been out there in the world and know how tough it can be. I want to see this generation of kids take my place – get the education, get the experience, get the jobs and then comeback and give back,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton says she frequently sees students who are very determined to get ahead and go to college despite many barriers.
“What the Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative means to me is that through career assessment, connections with local business and industry, parental input, administrative encouragement, and hard work on the part of myself and my students, we will be able to create a workable and sustainable career plan that allows students to prosper in whatever they do in the future. It’s a real way to help them and the economy of southern Virginia,” Hamilton concluded.
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