Tag Archive | "dalila kahvedzic"

From an underprivileged country to stand up comedy

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From an underprivileged country to stand up comedy

Posted on 29 March 2017 by admin

Student Sayeed Sharieff strives to ‘change it up’ with comedy

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Entrepreneurship Club starts up at Meramec

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Entrepreneurship Club starts up at Meramec

Posted on 22 February 2017 by admin


Entrepreneurship begins!

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Why ‘locker room talk’ does not define us

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Why ‘locker room talk’ does not define us

Posted on 08 February 2017 by admin

Women: powerful, resilient, unstoppable Continue Reading

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‘Young aspiring artist’ is a title to wear proudly

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‘Young aspiring artist’ is a title to wear proudly

Posted on 16 November 2016 by admin

Money is not worth the cost of mental well-being

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Empty Bowls Luncheon serves the hungry

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Empty Bowls Luncheon serves the hungry

Posted on 16 November 2016 by admin

Brown bag cafe feeds homeless

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The Great Circle collaborates with Meramec

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The Great Circle collaborates with Meramec

Posted on 15 September 2016 by admin

A small project for a grand cause

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Symphony Chaco: A Journey of the Spirit

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Symphony Chaco: A Journey of the Spirit

Posted on 06 May 2016 by admin

History through Music: Meramec Professor brings cultural enrichment to campus Continue Reading

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Meramec Interior Design students take The Windy City

Posted on 22 April 2016 by admin

A 3-day trip gives insight and knowledge to aspiring designers Continue Reading

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How to handle misconduct on campus – report and resolve

Posted on 22 April 2016 by admin




Sexual assault awareness is an important issue for the community, William Woodward said, STLCC’s Title IX Coordinator.

Woodward spoke at Meramec’s sexual assault harassment awareness forum held on Wednesday, April 6, on the Meramec campus.

This effort started last year, Woodward said.

“We wanted to make sure that we continue it because it is an important issue for us as a community,” Woodward said. “We do these forums throughout the college as a part of sexual assault awareness month – as the Title IX coordinator, it is my responsibility to make sure that we as a college are responding appropriately to issues regarding sexual misconduct on campus.”

STLCC’s administration really wanted to highlight what resources are available to students and staff on campus. Not only should these resources stay on the campus – but they should go home to friends and family as well, Woodward said.

“Neighbors or family members may also be impacted by these issues, so we know that it’s important to have information on community resources that those numbers can utilize as well and have available to them,” Woodward said. “And so that’s what I feel like is our responsibility as a community college.”

Chief of campus police, Anthony Russo, spoke at the forum as well.

“The family violence center – they’re our partners. You don’t realize what a great deal that is for the St. Louis Community College. They really represent over 25 organizations that are all there for our support – for victim support, for community support,” Russo said.

The phenomena in domestic violence are the victims, Russo said.

“They [victims] tell someone to kind of burn it off their shoulder – they feel better and think, ‘ah, I’m not going to go report it’ and a lot of things would go unreported,” Russo said.

The campus police have a lot of authority to do certain things, Russo said, but when it comes to really giving support and helping people, sometimes the best thing to do is call a professional in.

“Your air conditioner is broken – you call an HVAC person in. Well these are our pros; they’re the ones that we call when we need support and it’s in addition to all the support we have on campus. They work in connection with our council, it’s just another resource for us to go to,” Russo said. “We prefer that you report it to the police but there’s a lot of times where people are just apprehensive to tell the police something.”

Reporting any misconduct is important, Russo said.

“It’s like anything else – you have people walking up and down your street – it’s important to report it to the police so they can start seeing a pattern,” Russo said. “It’s the same thing on the campus with sexual violence, domestic violence – and that includes anything away from campus. Someone comes in and says they were in Arnold, MO and their spouse slapped them and they have an obvious injury – or not – you have to report that.”

Sometimes the victim may be a little reluctant, but that is where the counselors come in big time and talk the individual down the right path to getting help, Russo said.

“If you would rather have this remain confidential, we encourage you to talk with one of our counseling staff members and through the counseling process – make some determination.”

If a victim chooses to remain anonymous, there are ways around that to still help the situation while keeping the victim anonymous, Russo said.

“We actually had a female come in and she said, ‘I want to report this but I want to remain anonymous,’ and we knew who she was, but you know what? We guaranteed her anonymity. Unless you tell someone else, we’re not telling anybody. We investigated it and fortunately, we got a positive outcome,” Russo said. “We got support for the student – that’s the positive outcome.”

To know what is going on around campus is what campus police is here for, Russo said.

“We want to know what’s going on on this campus, but we want to know who we need to keep our eyes on. We might not be able to arrest them or do whatever, but we can certainly do that police thing – I got my eyes on you – you know, and kind of get in their space a little bit,” Russo said. “It’s about the students getting the support that they need.”

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A student’s recovery from childhood abuse drives her to success

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A student’s recovery from childhood abuse drives her to success

Posted on 31 March 2016 by admin

Catherine Hawkins uses past experiences to help women in abusive situations

By: Dalila Kahvedzic

STLCC – Meramec student Catherine Hawkins is graduating this Spring with a human services degree after countless people told her she would not be able to make it.

“You hear people say they can never get through something; they don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was the same way at one point and now? I’m graduating after people told me I wasn’t able to,” Hawkins said. “People told me I couldn’t go back to school because I had a baby; I actually went back to school full-time.”

The road leading up to the graduation stage had been rocky for Hawkins, beginning at the young age of six – a childhood that would unknowingly make a pathway for her career choice.

Hawkins suffered from child abuse by her mother for years before her mother committed suicide, she said.

“She was physically abusive, she would throw me on the bed and jump on me a lot,” Hawkins said. “Unfortunately it’s childhood trauma that you can’t forget sometimes – the last words my mother ever said to me were ‘happy birthday jackass’ on my birthday and that was my last birthday with her,” Hawkins said.

It was very hard growing up without a mom, Hawkins said. She faced challenges such as being bullied and being forced to grow up by herself. At one point, Hawkins described herself as a hermit – she would never leave the house.

Hawkins did not have much help growing up and school was tough, she said. Kids would always tell her that she would fail and flunk out.

“Even teachers were horrible back then. One time I was in math class and I was so traumatized by everything. I hated math, so my teacher would scream at me loudly in front of the whole entire class, I would try to look out the window, but she would come up to my desk and yell – ‘what are you looking at Catherine, are there numbers in the sky?’” Hawkins said.

Counseling was forced upon Hawkins, she said. Between counseling, therapy and the medicine she was taking – she gained 50 pounds, with her height only being 4-foot-11”.

“I was always so afraid of counseling. My school said that I was so outcasted that I had to go to therapy, otherwise I would get expelled. I was trying to make friends and everything but I didn’t have that motherly guidance.  My hair was always a mess, my face full of acne, so it was really hard. I went to another school eventually but I got made fun of because I looked like I was pregnant from all that medicine,” Hawkins said.

Social workers told her that college was not in the books for her, Hawkins said.

“I kind of just gave up on everything. I stayed home for years and just didn’t go out and social workers told me it wasn’t a good idea to go to college. Then they told me to just volunteer – I couldn’t even drive my own car,” Hawkins said.

The road to self-acceptance took a long time, Hawkins said.

“It took so many years. Starting from very early childhood to 21, actually. I met a boyfriend and decided to move out and move in with him – I couldn’t handle the environment I lived in anymore,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins believes her boyfriend at the time, now husband, is what got her out of the hardship she was in and pushed her to go to school.

Hawkins has since then received an internship with the Crime Victim Advocacy Center as a victim advocate.

“One of the first things I did over the semester was go to the courthouse in the city where I was able to sit with victims [of abuse]. They would come in and they might, for say, need assistance filling out an order of protection if they were abused or if they had a situation where they needed protection from something, and we would assist them,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins currently works primarily in the helpline center. It is specifically for intimate partner violence, she said.

“A woman will call, say she needs an attorney, she’ll tell us her story and we’ll have to do a preliminary take on her to see if she’s eligible and if we can get her what she needs,” Hawkins said.

Sometimes women calling in may be crying or freaking out, Hawkins said, and it is difficult to talk to someone this way – it is a very hard process.

“We get a preliminary out – and that is where we ask them questions like what they need and what they want,” Hawkins said. “Usually they’ll ask for an order of protection.”

A lot of women will cancel the order of protection because they are afraid, Hawkins said. They get frightened and worry that the situation will end up worse.

“One of the things we do go over with them is a safety plan, each and every time, if they want to go over it,” Hawkins said.

The helpline center advises women to take steps such as changing their hairstyle, their clothing, getting a haircut, changing their route to the grocery store and making sure that they have someone reliable to call in case of an emergency.

“We don’t ask them to or tell them to, we are not allowed to do that, we just ask if it sounds good to them,” Hawkins said. The center’s main goal is to help sufferers of abuse, Hawkins said.

 “To assist them as much as possible and to make them feel safer,” Hawkins said. “Just so they have that safety plan so whenever they do go out they can feel safe, because a lot of them don’t.”

Baby steps are taken with clients to insure stability.

 “Negative experiences are what made me better today,” Hawkins said. “One thing that I can say is that negativity can actually get you somewhere because people said I couldn’t do all this stuff and I said – let me see what I can do.”

Childhood experience drove Hawkins into this career field, she said, but her husband has helped her power through it.

“Everybody told me I couldn’t be who I wanted to be, they told me I had such bad anxiety and that I couldn’t be a human service worker, that I couldn’t go to college – people always lowered my self-esteem” Hawkins said. “He made me feel important, he was the type of person that said ‘yeah, you can do it – you can do whatever you put your mind to.’ He makes me go to school – he tells me I have to go to school and accomplish my dreams.”

Eventually Hawkins and her husband got married and now have a two-year-old boy.

“It’s so funny how people say that having a kid is very stressful. I think it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me, for sure,” Hawkins said.

Responsibility, working, going to college, having a kid and bills are all worth it compared to what she went through in her past, Hawkins said.

Hawkin’s husband sacrificed his own job just so she would be able to get to school, she said.

“He’s always saying there’s an answer for everything,” Hawkins said.

Having a child allows Hawkins to be the parent that she wished to have, she said.

“I can actually be the parent that I never had so it’s really good. I go through school and work for the benefits of him. Whenever I have hard exams or a hard semester I have a reason to go for it – he’s my little boy,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins always got told to go to school for money and to get a job for money, but she hopes to, along with her husband, teach her child otherwise.

“Money doesn’t buy you anything. I actually went from being very wealthy to living in a low class neighborhood, but it’s still worth it to me. I enjoy being poor rather than being miserable,” Hawkins said. “He [son] can do whatever he put his mind to.”

Hawkins is a full-time student, a mother and a wife. Hawkins is also set to graduate for Spring of 2016, despite the events she has gone through.

“One of the things he [son] needs to learn is empathy – knowing that there’s reasons for everything. A person who’s poor might be the happiest person, more so than a man with a million dollars,” Hawkins said. “Or a person with nice clothes and nice cars might not be as happy as someone without a dime on them.”


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