Rock Valley College
Rockford, Illinois


Opportunity for Change

Since opening its doors in the fall of 2010, over 1,000 students have taken classes at the LOC. Over 85% of those students have been first-generation college students. By offering a flexible schedule of classes at a convenient location for people who live or work in the downtown area, the LOC has allowed Rock Valley College to provide countless life-changing opportunities for people in our community. Joshua Archer is just one of many success stories written so far at the LOC.

Published Fall 2012 
Josh Archer



Two years ago, I had no hope for the future. I thought I would be a drug addict or criminal for the rest of my life. Now, I feel like the world is in the palm of my hands and my life is what I make it. 

I was a multiple drug addict, getting out of jail, and homeless. When I was released, I chose to go to the Rockford Rescue Mission because I was ready to change my life. My education instructor at the Mission, Ms. Pamela Thompson, recognized my interest in getting into college. She helped me begin the process of getting started at the LOC by getting me online and assisting me with enrolling,completing my FAFSA, driving me to the campus, and registering for classes.

The biggest challenge for me was coming from the lifestyle that I knew. I needed to learn how to develop discipline, prioritize, become organized, juggle my schedule, and follow through on commitments. I had to create a healthy support system, and start listening to and taking advice from mentors, counselors,
friends, and acquaintances who were going through similar experiences.

I am now in a halfway house and share an apartment with one other guy. Now that I have been working on some of those skills I mentioned like being organized and managing my schedule, I am also looking for a job while attending RVC. Things are progressing.

I have had a good experience at the LOC. It is a smaller campus which makes it a more personal, “tight knit” environment. As a result of this, I found it easier to have more personal relationships and talk to various classmates and teachers. The campus kind of helps you crawl before you can walk, which helps prepare
you for the transition to the main campus.

I’m working toward my associate of arts and plan on eventually obtaining a master’s degree in either social work or science. I would like to work for a non-profit organization that helps people, or find a position pertaining to environmental science. In my opinion, one of the most important things in life is to find what
you have a passion for and make a career out of it. An education can help to achieve that.

RVC is a great way to get started on your education because it’s more affordable than other colleges and universities. If you invest the time now, you will have the rest of your life to enjoy the benefits.