Buckner Family Pathways graduate aims high

Angel Hardy, pictured with grandson Nathan Heinrich (left) and son Justin Owens (right), found help to achieve lofty goals through Buckner's Family Pathways program. (Photo / Aimee Freston / Buckner)

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CONROE—Angel Hardy knew living in a travel trailer parked in the backyard of her friend’s house was no way to live—for her or her son.

The shower never worked. The toilet never worked. Eventually, the water in the kitchen stopped working.

But life had become so bleak, she felt she had no other choice.

Hardy was laid off in 2010, unsure what to do next. She knew she needed to get out of the trailer.

A friend asked if she ever thought about going back to school. As soon as she heard the question, Hardy knew in her heart what she would study—social services.

She enrolled in Lone Star College. After two and a half years living in the tiny, broken trailer, Hardy and her son moved into an apartment in Conroe.

Soon, her student loans ran out, and she couldn’t pay her rent. After falling behind several months, her landlord asked Hardy if she knew about Buckner.

“I knew about Buckner, but I thought it was for victims of domestic violence,” she said. “I didn’t realize it was for single parents to go to school.”

Hardy applied to the Family Pathways program and was accepted. She finished her associate degree at Lone Star and then went on to Sam Houston State University in Huntsville for a bachelor’s degree in human services with a special emphasis on victims studies.

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“I don’t know where I’d be today without Buckner, that’s for sure,” Hardy said. “I hope to work with Child Protective Services and foster children aging out. … My ultimate goal is to open … an equine therapy ranch.”

When Hardy graduated recently from Sam Houston State, her five children, brother and grandson were in the audience cheering her on. Her next step is going to graduate school to learn the management side of nonprofits.

“Angel was my very first client I was able to watch from the beginning to the end,” said Kymeicko Williams, Family Pathways case manager in Conroe. “Angel has always strived very hard for greatness, and it shows. She’s so thankful for everything Buckner has done for her. It was so wonderful to see her walk across the stage. I was just as proud of her as her family and friends.

Buckner’s help “has meant everything,” Hardy said. “I believe it was all done by God. He put it all in place, in motion.”

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