Major: Human Services
Annie Todor spent her adolescence and early adulthood acting as a caregiver to both of her parents, who had mental health challenges.
“My mother was in and out of state-run institutions her entire life,” she said. “As a result, my passion for human services developed as I witnessed the daily challenges both of my parents faced with little resources available to them.”
After her freshman year of college, Todor joined a Christian ministry that provided life purpose, travel and the community she needed. Seven years later she left, fell in love and had four children. But she never stopped thinking about college.
“I had so much personal experience with trauma, and I wanted to take that pain and use it for good,” she said. “When my kids were older, I decided that I wanted to go back to college to pursue a career as a social worker. The fact that College of DuPage makes affordability and flexibility a priority was the only way I could make my dream a reality.”
While taking a class with Human Services Instructor Donna Rennard, Todor was stirred to help those leaving the life of human/sex trafficking and wrote a paper about it.
“Soon after I submitted my paper, I heard a presentation in my home church on the same subject,” she said. “I started volunteering at Naomi’s House, a residential program and safe house for women leaving the life of trafficking, and that led me to a job there that I continue to have. I absolutely love the women I serve with my whole heart.”
While at COD, Todor received the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship from the COD Foundation.
“The scholarship provided me with the funds to finish the last two classes I needed in order to graduate – what a provision,” she said. “I was overjoyed to accept such an honor and encourage others to do the same.”
Having earned her associate degree, Todor is now finishing her bachelor’s degree in Human Services through COD’s 3+1 program with National Louis University. Then she would like to continue and complete a master’s program.
Todor’s advice to students is to keep their dreams alive.
“My advice comes from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. scholarship quote I used in my speech: ‘If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But whatever you do, move forward.’ Move forward in your education even if it is a baby step. Those steps add up to a completion of goals which then will add up to a completion of dreams and purpose,” she said.
“If anyone thinks they can’t succeed at college later in life, just look at me. You take it one class at a time and before you know it, you look back at what you have accomplished. No one can take that away from you.”