With the help of Lorain County Community College, Lisa Wolford is making good on a dream she had long ago.

Wolford, 48, graduated in December 2011 with an Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education.

The Elyria woman obtained a license to operate a home daycare more than a decade ago, but the idea fell by the wayside as she raised her family and worked as a pharmacy technician. When severe Carpel Tunnel Syndrome ended her career a few years ago, Wolford was filled with despair.

“I was getting depressed because I couldn't find a job or take care of my family,” she said. “No one could help me. Rehabilitation couldn't help me to find a good job.  One day I decided, I am going to school.”
She remembered her plan to open a daycare and enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program at LCCC.

“I want to make a difference in a child's life,” she said. “I think if I can catch them early in life, I can surely direct them in the way that they need to go to be successful in the future, and to know that they are special and loved.”

Wolford was determined not only to earn a degree, but to earn top marks in each course along the way. With the help and encouragement from her professors and academic counselors, Wolford achieved her goal.

“Professor Henes saw something in me that I didn’t see and she pushed me until I got it,” Wolford said. “This is a great place to learn and grow.”

Continuing her education was an option that Wolford had once thought was off the table. Thought she was an exceptional high school student, Wolford’s world came crashing down during her senior year of high school when her mother was shot and later died from the injuries and pneumonia. Her mother was a strong believer in the power of education, and Wolford persevered through the tragedy and earned her high school diploma. She then made a tough decision.

“I canceled my plans to attend college to stay home and help my step-father take care of my twin sisters, who were 5 years old,” she recalled.

At the age of 19, she had her first son and began working at a pharmacy. Several years later, she had twins, who are now 15 years old. She also has two grandchildren.

Wolford ensures her children and grandchildren understand the value of education.

“My twins were excited to see me do all the things I had told them to do,” she said. “They were all astonished, supportive, helpful, and proud of their mom.”

Her oldest son already has an associate’s degree and is working on a bachelor’s degree. She helps her twins plan their education paths after high school.

Wolford plans to work in a daycare setting and eventually open her own daycare or preschool.