Tenacity and Perseverance

Two words to describe Shametris Cotton-tenacity and perseverance. Shametris Cotton is a 27
year old single mother who works in environmental services at Spectrum Health while pursuing
medical assistant training at Ross Medical so that she will better be able to provide for her two
young children. Shametris largely thanks Steepletown’s WIOA programs for helping her to get to
where she is today.

Shametris went to Ottawa High School but dropped out in the 11th grade with only enough
credits for 9th grade. Shametris admits that after she turned 19 she attempted to finish high
school “at least 3 or 4 times” but that she never had the support she felt she needed to complete
her studies. Shametris had been looking for programs to assist her with completing her
education but had not found a good fit. She stated “I wanted to show my kids that I was a fighter
and not a quitter so I kept looking for programs” and it wasn’t until she started working with
Steepletown that she felt she found the perfect fit. Shametris describes this program “like having
someone on your back (in a good way)…just having that support and someone to check on me
put me back in a place (mentally) where I felt I could do it. I needed someone to walk along with
me during that”. Shametris acknowledges that her WIOA case manager knew instinctively when
to call and see how she was doing and that this helped encourage her to keep going.

If you ask Shametris what she is taking with her from her experiences at Steepletown that will
assist her on her journey she states “Just to never give up. Getting that high school diploma was
all I needed to know that I could do anything.” When asked how it felt to complete her diploma
after all those years she responded, “I cried, I felt accomplished, like I was the queen of some
country”. Shametris admits that it wasn’t always easy but that she felt “having a program like
this gives you hope and impacts you in every way.” Shametris also said that Steepletown’s
programs have helped her to realize that “there’s no such thing as failing, if you put your mind to
something and say ‘I can do it’ then you can do anything. You should never give up on yourself
and say what you can’t do. If it comes across your mind to do something you want, don’t let
anything stop it. You can’t give up, especially if you have babies that look up to you”.

Picture of Dick Bulkowski

Dick Bulkowski

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