For TaeJonea Brooks Marrow ’21, the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) at Keuka College is more than just a way to help defray the cost of college. The program has also helped her mentally and emotionally. And she credits Director of HEOP Dr. Lisa Thompson for always being in her corner.
“I will never forget the times when I sat in Director Lisa’s office for hours, crying about how hard it was for me to get into the Nursing program,” says TaeJonea. “She told me there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you will see it. It may not be now, but you will see it.”
After some soul-searching, TaeJonea decided to change her major to Social Work, and she never looked back.
It was by far the best decision I’ve ever made. Ever since then I have been striving within Social Work. I don’t only thank Director Lisa for her motivational words, but also my HEOP family, because many of them saw how I struggled at that time. They were telling me to go with my heart, and that is what I did.
And having that support system is very important to TaeJonea.
“The best part is that I have a family to go to when I need them the most, and not a lot of students on campus have that support system away from home,” says TaeJonea. “These are the people that get me through the day most times. When I want to have a good laugh, I go to the office and it always brightens my day!”
And TaeJonea says HEOP is a beneficial resource for her.
“This is a program that helps you gain a lot of knowledge not only about yourself, but others around you,” says TaeJonea. “I truly believe that this program is designed to help students like me thrive to their best ability. I am beyond grateful to be part of such an amazing program that shows gratitude and effort. I would encourage any student to become a part of the HEOP Program. HEOP means FAMILY, and you are not alone!