With Help from the KEYS Program, Single Mother Finds Success at Community College

Two years ago, Valerie Bible was a single mother of three who was working full-time in a metal coating factory.

Her oldest son, who was nine at the time, knew his Mom dreamed of going to college. One day he made her a promise. “When I go to college, I’ll pay for you, Mom.”

Around that same time, Ms. Bible’s hands began experiencing an adverse reaction to chemicals used in the metal coating process. She knew it was time for a change.

Inspired by her son, she enrolled in Community College of Beaver County. Thanks to the college’s KEYS Program, Ms. Bible had help with transportation, cash assistance and an advocate who could help her education journey.

“As a Mom, things came up. I’m not a traditional student, but the KEYS Program at CCBC allowed me to succeed,” said Ms. Bible.

KEYS Programs, which are overseen by the PA Department of Human Services, operate at community colleges across the Commonwealth. Most offer local resources for financial literacy, transportation, food assistance, domestic violence intervention, clothing, child care and mental health services. The aim of the KEYS Program is to address barriers that prevent students from becoming successful and financially secure.

Ms. Bible is currently enrolled in the business administration program at CCBC, with plans to transfer to a four-year institution following graduation. She is excelling in her classwork, recently becoming a member of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society.

“I made my son proud,” she said. “I’m grateful for the KEYS Program – I wouldn’t have been a successful student without it.”