STOCKTON (CBS13) — A UOP graduate never thought she'd get her degree. She went from being homeless to graduating, despite money and medical setbacks. Now she's giving back.
Gwen Primous, 50, defied the odds. The sociology major graduated with honors from the University of the Pacific, who helped pay for her degree.
"I didn't think I was good enough," she said. "I didn't think I had the grades for it. I didn't have the money for it. And where I come from, you don't go here."
She grew up in southeast Stockton, a place where getting a higher education is something few talk about.
Gwen was one of the people hoping for help. She was homeless.
"Sleeping on the floor, sleeping on sofas, I slept in my car."
And as she got closer to graduation, she almost didn't make it.
"I was stressed out and I had a stroke," she said. "And I thought man, I'm right here and again this is another hurdle that's going to prevent me from even finishing here."
But she didn't give up, and Gwen got her degree just a few weeks ago.
"You can make it if you're 50 years old and you can make it from the hood to be hooded, you can make it."
And now she's focused on helping southeast Stockton with her charity called The Dome of Hope.
"What I want to do here is build this area up. I think this area has been overlooked."
The organization tutors fifth- through ninth-graders. She wants to also help adults by offering GED prep classes and job training programs. She's trying to find a building to house the adult offerings. She says most of the people helping so far are UOP students.
Gwen's all about giving back, and it's a lesson she could teach any day of the week.
"It's not about me, I just want people to know that we need help in south Stockton."
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