Past abuse leads woman to social work field
Davidson County Community College
Long before she graduated from Davidson County Community College with an associate’s degree on May 13, Amy Church knew what she wanted to major in when she transfers to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Church, 36, of Mocksville, will pursue a career in social work to help children and women who are survivors of abuse.
For the first 11 years of her life, Church said, she was subjected to physical and emotional abuse by her parents. By age 14, she was on her own and working full time to support herself.
She dropped out of high school and soon found herself in an abusive relationship and a subsequent marriage that ended in divorce.
With guidance and support from Davie County Domestic Violence Services, Church said she learned to understand and break the cycles of abuse while learning ways to protect herself and others.
Through a social work career, she hopes to learn more to share with others.
The mother of two children, Church returned to the DCCC campus in Mocksville to earn her Adult High School diploma in 1990. It took 15 years for her to build up enough self-esteem and courage to enroll in curriculum classes at DCCC in 2005.
“The hardest part was trusting people around me. I secluded myself,” she said.
The abuse left Church with post-traumatic stress syndrome, but she has managed to overcome her emotional scars and use her experiences to help others.
She is a former volunteer for the Guardian Ad Litem program to help abused children going through the court system, and she works as a volunteer to help those seeking relief from Davie County Domestic Violence Services.
Church was awarded the Wade W. Dauch/Elizabeth and Arthur Pierce Memorial Scholarship at DCCC, one of the most valuable given by the college’s foundation.
She is eager to begin her social work courses this fall. Her ultimate goal is to open a safe house for abuse victims.
Church was honored during a DCCC Student Success Program reception in early May where she received a certificate and cash award for her performance as an exemplary student while working two part-time jobs and caring for her 16- and 13-year-old children.
Jimmie Gravely, director of the Student Success Program at DCCC, said Church defied the odds.
“According to many people who knew her, this student was not going to be able to graduate. I am proud that Amy Church took advantage of all of the opportunities afforded her at DCCC and especially in the Student Success Program,” Gravely said.
“She wanted this degree so much, and she did what was necessary to get it, despite the circumstances that would have stopped most people,” Gravely continued. “Her ability to persist will serve her well. We are fortunate to have her as a role model for other students.”
For more information about the DCCC Student Success program, contact Gravely at 336-249-8186, extension 6114 or firstname.lastname@example.org.