The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Former homeless student currently pursuing master’s

By Lariza Moreno/reporter

It has been six years since LaDoris Pope started a new beginning in Texas when she moved from Mississippi with her 15-year-old daughter to find work.

It was never easy for Pope and her daughter when she had to move to a homeless shelter.

LaDoris Pope Photo by Katelyn Townsend/The Collegian
LaDoris Pope
Photo by Caitlin Herron/The Collegian

“When people find out you’re homeless, they think they know everything about you,” she said.

Pope, 43, is now a mother, motivational speaker, former casino manager and a graduate student with a bachelor’s in psychology.

Raised in poverty by her great-grandparents, who were children of former slaves, her childhood was different from others.

“While most children were playing, I was learning about life, how to survive, how to speak to people in authority,” she said.

Her day in Union Gospel Mission shelter in Fort Worth began with taking her daughter to school, working on resumes, looking for work and helping other residents accommodate to the shelter.

“We do whatever the shelter has for you to do in order to stay there,” she said.

Pope’s life began to change when she learned about Visions Unlimited, a program offered at TCC to help and empower the homeless into higher education.

“Visions is a program of a second chance,” said Tina Jenkins, program manager and psychology instructor. “If you want a second chance, here it is.”

Pope returned to school, earned her associate degree and learned to balance her inner strength through the program.

“I did transform with every workshop, conference and every conversation,” she said. “It’s about becoming healed.”

Being part of the program has been special to Pope.

She knows exactly where she wants to be. She comes back to volunteer and usually speaks to students in the program.

“Part of the program is to reach to an entire community, to sort of make sure these individuals have a good foundation and to feel a sense of belonging,” Jenkins said.

Pope recalls being angry about her life. She didn’t feel it was fair.

“She was not this calm, cool breeze you see right here,” Jenkins said.

Pope never questioned her academic abilities. For her, it was a self-esteem issue. That was a side she had to rebuild to get everything else in check.

“Through the program, I was able to stop blaming me. Those are the things I learned to let go of,” she said.

Pope also travels back to Union Gospel Mission in Fort Worth.

“Going back, it’s not really about me,” she said. “I go back to see them because you don’t know who’s about to give up.”

Pope uses her newfound inner strength to help others keep pushing forward.

“When I go back, it gives me joy to know that when I go there, there’s a chance I could help somebody,” she said.

Pope is currently pursuing her master’s degree in science and psychology. She’s a helping hand for others who want to get out of the shadows and pursue new beginnings.

She is also now a part-time TCC employee working as a program coordinator for Visions Unlimited as well as with MHMR Tarrant.

“I think God doesn’t put us through anything by accident,” Pope said. “Beforehand, I never knew nothing about being homeless, nothing about shelters, and now I do.”

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