Friday, April 27, 2018

A Resilient Advocate and Hero – Meet Gabriel Grove

Gabriel Grove, a 2015 Peirce alumna, has tackled some of life’s toughest challenges, but with a resilient and driven spirit, she has achieved more than she ever imagined.

In 2006, Gabriel was living in a homeless shelter with her children when she took a look around. In the midst of dealing with her own challenges, she could not help but notice how much larger the issue now affecting her family really was.

“I realized we all need to do more to help and bring light to homelessness in Philadelphia,” explained Gabriel, “Before the shelter, I was not aware of the extent of homelessness, especially with women and children.”

Even while she was busy caring for herself and her family as a resident of one of Philadelphia’s local shelters, Gabriel still found time to make a plan to help those around her.

First, however, Gabriel knew she needed to help herself and her family. She would begin with achieving a lifelong goal—degree attainment. “My end goal was always to earn my degree,” she said. “I knew it was needed; having experience was no longer enough. If I wanted to move forward in my career, I needed to check this off my to-do list.”

After taking classes at a variety of colleges and universities, Gabriel finally enrolled at Peirce in 2014 after hearing about the flexibility Peirce offered and the 25% tuition discount she received thanks to Peirce’s corporate partnership with Independence Blue Cross, her employer at the time.

“Peirce allowed me to complete my degree in a timely manner and with ease,” reflected Gabriel. “It truly is the college that really works for working adults and that is what I needed. I was ready to finally earn my degree and Peirce was ready to get me to graduation, faster.”

In 2015, Gabriel accomplished her goal and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Leadership (now called: Organizational Leadership).

Following this accomplishment, Gabriel set out on her next mission: changing the world.

In July 2017, Gabriel was finally able to set her dreams into action. She opened her very own non-profit, For Her Sake Foundation, Inc., where she collects essential toiletries—from toothpaste to soap—and donates them to local women’s shelters. A believer in investing in her own cause, Gabriel often self-funds those supplies to ensure she can increase the number of people she serves.

In less than a year since starting her organization, Gabriel has already been able to donate to nine shelters in the Philadelphia area, assisting women who don’t have access to these items.

Gabriel said, “We sometimes take the small things for granted. These women living in shelters have to make tough choices every day. They need to decide whether to spend their small sums of money on toiletries for themselves and their children or to allocate it toward medicine or other necessities.” She added, “I want to help alleviate these hard decisions as best as I can.”

As Gabriel’s non-profit continues to grow, she has even bigger hopes and dreams for the future. “My end goal is to open my own women’s shelter in Philadelphia,” she said. “This is just the start!”

In addition to this work, Gabriel has also found a way to be sure she is giving back at the college that helped her earn the degree she always wanted. Gabriel recently partnered with Peirce to launch The Gabriel Grove Scholarships.

The first book scholarship will be awarded to a woman in the Information Technology field, as Gabriel would like to encourage more gender diversity in the industry. The second book scholarship will be awarded to a woman looking to earn her master’s degree in Healthcare Administration at Peirce. Gabriel is also earning her master’s and wants to ensure other women are not constrained by financial barriers as they pursue their goals.

“Education is my passion,” said Gabriel. “I wanted to give back to Peirce students so they could follow their dreams like I did, so I decided to start the scholarships to help women return to school.”

Peirce College is grateful for Gabriel’s generosity and encouragement. While she continues to chip away at making the world a better place, we are proud to see that she is #PoweredbyPeirce and is ensuring other students can do the same.