Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Amber Parke

A single parent with a 16-year-old daughter and a self-described recovering addict, Amber Parke started in PCC’s Project Independence in winter of 2006 after 13 years of being away from college, including a three-year stint in prison.

As a twelve-step sponsor and volunteer who helps women coming out the prison system, Amber already has a good idea of what her future career in social work will be like.

She credits Project Independence – a tuition-free PCC program that provides information and training opportunities for women working to become economically self-sufficient – for her success in returning to college. "It’s been amazing," said Amber. "The support and encouragement I’ve gotten have been life changing." Amber plans to continue on at Portland State University to earn her bachelor’s degree.

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