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Breaking the Cycle

Updated: Feb 29

What does it take to break the cycle? Life often presents us with challenges and obstacles that may seem overwhelming. However here at LearningQuest, we believe in the power of resilience and determination. We are committed to providing support, resources, and opportunities to those who have faced hardships, empowering them to overcome adversity and discover the strength within to achieve their goals. 

One such student motivated by the desire to break the cycle and provide a better life for her children is Ashley Cook. Ashley was just a toddler and living in Arkansas when her mother fell into the company of the wrong crowd and was introduced to drugs. This left Ashley in a very unsafe environment filled with darkness. At five years old, Ashley was kidnapped at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend, she experienced emotional, mental, and physical abuse that left her in fear. Ashley’s fear left her scared to go to sleep at night, leading her to keep the lights on all night. This persistent insomnia became a significant factor in her struggles, affecting her ability to function normally. Ashley believes that the insomnia she developed played a pivotal role in the struggles she faced in school. This ultimately led to her decision to drop out. 

Life brought Ashley to Stanislaus County where she became motivated to break the cycle and provide a better life for her own children. Despite facing significant challenges, including two unsuccessful attempts to obtain her diploma and a period of homelessness from 2016 to 2021, Ashley remained determined. On her third attempt, Ashley discovered LearningQuest! Ashley excelled during her time at LearningQuest. She had finally found the support system she so desperately needed. With the assistance of LearningQuest, she was empowered, confident, and fully equipped to embark on her journey towards earning her diploma.  Thanks to the invaluable dedication and encouragement provided by LearningQuest she felt not only prepared but also inspired with a profound sense of readiness to seize this milestone. Ashley graduated in 2022. 

Ashley seamlessly translated the lessons learned from the LearningQuest classroom into a confident start to her college journey. She is making significant strides toward her educational goals which include obtaining a four-year degree and becoming a Drug Enforcement Agent. She remains committed to pursuing a career in criminal law.

Ashley's advice to fellow students is to persevere. She emphasized that one should not give up regardless of their current situation or circumstances. She shares her own example, stating, "I currently have no car, therefore I take the bus, I manage to attend school four days a week and make time for my classes." Ashley expressed her gratitude and thanked LearningQuest for understanding and supporting her goals. She urges others to seize the moment, emphasizing that it’s never too late to break free from the cycle. 


Like Ashley, countless students are striving for a better life, there is a crucial need for additional support to uplift them on their journey. Our annual Building Hope Scholarship drive aims to help adults, like Ashley, break the cycle. With your partnership, we can make that a reality. 

Our goal is to provide quality instruction and transition services for 

100 adults by raising $40,000.

Please consider giving a gift to help students build their skills and reach beyond the classroom. We hope that literacy advocates, like you, who care about education in our community will partner with us to break the cycle. 

Thanks to the Mary Stuart Rogers Foundation’s $40,000 match, your gift will DOUBLE! That means with your contribution, we can help DOUBLE the number of students who accomplish their dreams.

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