Helping others is a family tradition for Tarrant County College graduate Sharon Levy. One grandmother was a social service worker and community activist in Louisiana. The other grandmother was a cook in an assisted living center who took meals to those unable to leave their homes. Sharon said her ministry was food.
“So it’s something I witnessed growing up,” she said. “I truly believe it’s a calling.”
That calling led Sharon to return to TCC after a two-decade absence to finish her degree, earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from UT Arlington and embark on a career serving others. She has worked with abused women and children, the homeless population, and children in foster care.
Her current position as a social worker at the Fort Worth ISD Family Action Center involves not only students but their families, too, as she seeks solutions to problems ranging from assistance with housing, food and transportation to mental health issues.
Sharon came to TCC in summer 1987 but dropped out to “get married, have kids and all of that.” When her oldest son graduated from high school in 2010, she took him to TCC South to enroll him in classes and, while she was at it, enrolled herself as well.
“My kids were older,” she said. “I talked with my husband, and we decided it was a good time for me to go back.”
It wasn’t easy, but she was inspired by faculty members, especially history Associate Professor Armando Villarreal. “He had a great impact on me. Just hearing his story and how he was a first-generation, nontraditional student who went back to school and ended up as a professor. He was great.”
Sharon’s work extends to community outreach, battling the stigma of mental illness in the Black church, mentoring young girls and working with women survivors of domestic violence. Her purpose in life, she says, is “to build faith, loving and trauma-informed environments where people can heal and build resilience.”
Her grandmothers would be proud.