When Gloria Turner was named Ms. Indiana Plus 2017 and Ms. Indiana Classic Beauty, she set a goal to dedicate 1,000 hours of service to the community – in addition to attending college full time and raising her two young sons. “Even though I’m a full-time mom and student, I want to set an example for others,” she said.
Although Turner was a good student, there was little parental push to make graduation from high school a priority – so at age 15, she dropped out. “Even students who thrive in school need motivation and a sense of accomplishment to come from a parent to let them know there are goals to succeed,” shared Turner.
The motivation Turner missed fueled her pageantry platform, which she refers to as RU A.L.E.R.T. Indiana? The acronym A.L.E.R.T stands for “Adult Learners Educated, Restored and Transformed.” “My goal is to connect non-traditional students to resources to make higher education attainable. Sharing your knowledge with others to help build them up really helps our community as a whole. Motivating an individual who motivates another who motivates another … the trickle effect can be tremendous.”
Turner’s drive to transform the adult learning experience is inspirational. With the cost of college tuition skyrocketing, Turner knew one key to getting adults back to school was helping them secure funding. She developed a scholarship workshop on this topic, which has since helped attendees earn more than $700,000 in scholarships.
“I would love to see more adult learners utilizing community resources to educate themselves. Seeing people take advantage of those resources for a degree will have such an impact on demographically-challenged areas and can boost the socioeconomics and resources of the area. Unless you know someone who’s been there or been there yourself, it’s hard to understand why they don’t ‘just go do it.’”