September 12, 2012
Thanks to the Finishers club a woman was able to overcome the obstacle of being homeless and is now in college along with her mother and daughter, all headed towards a career.
Finishers is a support group at Amarillo College that helps students finish their goals through what ever obstacles the student may be facing. The club consists of Dr. Mike Bellah and Dr. Claudie Biggers, the sponsors, as well as some AC faculty and students. The club started about a year and a half ago with Dr. Bellah and four students at a restaurant.
“We just sat down at Chili’s one day and ate together and talked about student dreams and how we could have a support group from that,” Dr. Bellah said.
Because of the Finishers growth in numbers, the members of the club get into small groups and meet together once a week. They also meet together as a whole on the last Friday of each month at Hoffbrau.
“It’s easier for us to keep up with each other and develop that support group structure, involvement and caring that we’re really striving for,” said Donna Dinges, a social worker major.
Dinges joined the club the second semester after it was started. However Finishers isn’t only a support group, the club also does fundraisers to help students pay for school expenses.
“Some of the money of fundraisers goes towards helping needy students,” Dinges said. “We also do book drives to collect books from students that have a hard time paying for their textbooks because some financial aid pays for tuition but not for textbooks.”
The club has helped keep students motivated about getting a degree and graduating college instead of dropping out.
“Unfortunately, many of them (students), for one reason or another… drop out of school and aren’t able to complete,” Bellah said. “So Finishers is the group that kind of helps them finish, if they need it.”
Veronica Austin, whom is majoring in elementary education, said that the reason she got involved with the club was because of the idea of having a support group while she got through college. If it weren’t for Finishers, Austin said, she probably would have quit. This is her second semester involved in the group.
“It has held me accountable and has opened doors, and it’s forcing me to do what I need to do to get through college and graduate,” she said.
Austin encourages other students to join Finishers. “We ant everyone to get where they want to get in life,” she said.
The club will also have a retreat this spring for all those who want to be apart of the Finishers.