The girl who escaped a Jerry Springer lifestyle
Sitting on the top bunk (one of two in a small room), 13-year-old Amber Jeffries knew she wasn’t going to end up like her parents. Her father, a drug addict, dropped out of school in eighth grade and her mother didn’t finish high school. The oldest of eight children, Amber shared a room with four in a cramped double-wide trailer.
She worked hard in middle and high school to get straight As and pave her way to college. She went straight to community college, working her way through a two-year program in three years. After graduation, she was accepted to the University of Oregon, but allowed her fear to take over and didn’t go.
Two years later, Amber was married and had a six-month old son. “I wasn’t going to be that mom who has a bunch of kids and doesn’t do anything with her life,” she said. Once again determined to get her degree, Amber moved her family from Hermiston to Eugene, Oregon. She knew it was time to get her degree. Even if she didn’t use it for a career, she wanted to know that she accomplished something.
Today, Amber is entering her final year at the university. Majoring in art, she hopes to one day work as an animator for Pixar or Nickelodeon.
“I over think everything,” she said, “but I don’t think when I draw. It’s like self-therapy.” Amber was inspired to get an education by the lifestyle she didn’t want to fall into. She hopes, however, to lead by example for her son. She knows education is important and wants him to feel the same.
Amber has worked hard to get where she is today and knows her journey will continue uphill once she graduates. Determined as ever, she won’t let anything stop her. “I know I’m probably going to start as the person who serves coffee to the animator, but one day I’ll be doing it.”