The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Courage to Change

City College alumni Holly Bloesser helps fight homelessness at Sacramento Steps Forward. Bloesser is working on her master’s degree in social work. Photo by || Vincent Fernandez || [email protected]

City College graduate Holly Bloesser hit rock bottom before coming up for air to realize that life wasn’t just fun and games. Five years ago, Bloesser was pregnant, addicted to drugs and homeless.

When she became a resident at Sacramento Emergency Housing’s Mather Community Campus, Bloesser began to look for a new outlet, adamant about moving forward with her life.

The Mather Community Campus is a two-year housing program for the homeless, assisting its occupants with job training and classes that emphasize financial stability, mental health and support groups.

In 2006, Bloesser attended City College. She didn’t have a major in mind at the time, but today Bloesser attributes much of her career success to training she received at City College.

“What prepared me for my educational goals had to be the intimate relationship between the students and instructors,” Bloesser said. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I got there. I didn’t have a goal or educational plan, but it made me think about the possibilities. It was time there that gave me direction.”

Pam Flaherty, professor and chair of the sociology department, was Bloesser’s instructor when she took Introduction to Social Services. Flaherty says she was always impressed by Bloesser and recalls her strong attributes.

“[She had a] very positive, inspiring, attitude in class,” recalls Flaherty. “She had amazing stories that were very relevant to course topics—when she spoke, you could hear a pin drop in the classroom—and she was so happy to be in school and so hopeful of the future. I knew she was going to go far—and she has.”

Bloesser remembers times in her academic career when she felt overwhelmed, but she still has many fond memories of the campus.

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Bloesser says she won’t forget certain City College instructors who inspired her. History professor Keith Heningburg and sociology professor Pam Flaherty are at the top of the list.

Bloesser describes Heningburg as “tough and amazing,” and she wishes that she had taken more of his classes.

“I remember a lot from his classes,” says Bloesser. “He appears intimidating, but just expects a lot from his students.”

Bloesser attributes a lot of her success to Flaherty.

“She is the reason I am going as far as I have gone,” Bloesser says. “She helped work out my personal baggage. I’m probably a better person because of her.”

In 2007, Bloesser graduated from Sacramento City College with an associate’s degree in social science. She transferred to Sacramento State University where she graduated from in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in social work.

Today, she is in the process of receiving her master’s degree in social work and actively participates in different community programs in the Sacramento area.

It was a long road from being homeless and pregnant to attending graduate school, but with help from the people of Sacramento Emergency Housing program and instructors from City College, Bloesser has managed to turn her life around and is now comitted to helping other people do the same.

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