ST. PETERSBURG — Tanya Glover-Carter, 46, came to Florida in 2015 after she and her husband inherited a home in Clearwater from his late mother. She was pregnant and sober after years of substance abuse and the illness and heartbreak that come with it.
In 2016, her husband died in a car accident on the Memorial Causeway Bridge, leaving her a widow and single mom. She soon relapsed and spiraled back into addiction. Three years later, she was sober again and living in a halfway house when a housemate offered up a dare that would change her life.
“I would wake up early and read my Bible and meditate every day,” Glover-Carter remembered. “My roommate said, ‘You always have your head stuck in a book – you should go back to school!’”
The next day, Glover-Carter, who dropped out of school in ninth grade, eventually earning a General Education Diploma, enrolled in St. Petersburg College’s Addiction Studies certificate program. Sober now “two years and some change,” she graduates this May.
“I chose Addiction Studies because I’ve been trying to stay clean since I was 18,” she said. “It has been challenging, but I was hell-bent on finishing because the only things I’d ever finished were a jail sentence and childbirth.”
The program didn’t just challenge Glover-Carter. She completed her studies while, at the same time, the widow with a young child was completing probation requirements, taking a two-hour bus ride each way from home to classes, and in the middle of the program, she suffered a stroke. Even with the extraordinary obstacles, she maintained a 3.4 GPA.
Her sponsor encouraged her to join SPC’s Women on the Way, where she says she gained emotional support. She also complimented her supportive professors and the Financial Aid office, which helped her figure out how to pay for her classes. She also received two scholarships, the Joseph and Vilma Zalupski Endowed Scholarship and the Florence Cole Bellenger Scholarship.
Glover-Carter said when she finishes in May, she hopes her new credentials, combined with her life experiences, will help her land a job at a treatment center. But she’s not done: She has her eye on SPC’s Community Healthcare Worker Certificate.
“I don’t know what doors God is going to open,” she said, “But now I have a purpose, and it’s a do-or-die situation if I’m going to reach my full potential.”