Faces in the Crowd: Stephenie Rittberger
Stephenie Rittberger has agricultural roots and is up before the sun each day to do chores on her family’s farm- but Stephenie was called to help others in a different way.
The best way to describe Stephenie is the helping type, caring and compassionate. Her role at the Career Learning Center of the Black Hills has evolved over the 20 years but her mission is still the same, helping students succeed.
Stephenie says, “A lot of students here are working more than one job and still struggling, really struggling financially, and so when you are struggling in the crisis of poverty, very often you are working a lot of hours, and so really a lot of them are looking at what they can do to improve their chances of maybe working one job with benefits so they can spend more time with their families.”
People who walk through her door get treated like family. Stephenie says her line of work is based on relationship building and mentorship. The adult students who are accessing the services want a better life- a better future – most on the road to acquire a higher education and eventually a career they can thrive in.
“If you don’t pursue different things or you aren’t able to look at your interest and match them up with your abilities, then it’s really hard to come up with a bigger dream,” says Stephenie.
Stephenie’s like a coach in their corner, helping students develop career options and find their passions. Drawing up a personalized plan to help students overcome their unique obstacle. She sees the potential in each student.
Stephenie says, “They are willing to invest and so we must also be willing to invest to figure out what we can do to help them and really. It’s a great community builder, because you have people who can access higher level jobs and are able to critically think and problem solve at much higher levels, if you can help them fill those gaps.”
She’s impacting the lives of many and couldn’t be more grateful to be doing so.
“I found a calling instead of a job. I didn’t know I was going to love it when I walked into it, I didn’t know it was the thing I was meant for, and I didn’t know it was going to be the thing that would fulfill me or give me purpose but I found out that it is the thing that gives me purpose,” says Ritterberger.
For more information on the Career Learning Center, click here.