From Foster Care to Childcare, UMO Helps Trent Transform Her Dreams into Realities

From Foster Care to Childcare, UMO Helps Trent Transform Her Dreams into Realities

FAYETTEVILLE – Jennifer Trent of Fayetteville, NC did not have the picture perfect life growing up.  In foster care since birth she moved frequently throughout North Carolina, until the age of 15 when she was finally adopted.  Because of all the moves, Trent fell behind in school and never earned her high school diploma.  At age 18 Trent met her future husband, Lloyd Trent, Jr.  The couple married in 2008 and they have been happily married for seven years.

Shortly after getting married, at the encouragement of her husband, Trent began her educational journey. First she completed her GED and then her associate’s degree at Fayetteville Technical Community College. Now, the 27 year old is enrolled in the early childhood education (ECE) bachelor’s degree completion program at the University of Mount Olive Fayetteville location.

“I wanted to return to school, but I did not feel confident that I could achieve my goals,” she said.  “However, my husband gave me the encouragement and support that I needed to take that first step.”

Trent’s desire to help children is rooted from her own experiences living in a group home.  “I was paid to assist in the younger boys dorms helping with their homework and cleaning. During that time I met a four year old boy and he became attached to me. I helped him learn his ABC’s and to count. When he graduated preschool he gave me an invitation to his graduation. At that point, I knew I wanted to help children when I was older.”

Trent’s background in foster care also opened her eyes to many short comings in the system.  She hopes that her experience, coupled with her education will help her to become an advocate for children who don’t have the voice to speak up for themselves.

“Being shuffled from home to home I saw first-hand how students can fall behind. I saw siblings being separated.  I saw children getting lost in the system. I was one of those children,” she said.

As a young adult Trent became a member of SAYSO (Strong Abled Youth Speaking Out), a group of 14 to 24 year olds who are or have been in the out-of-home care system that is based in North Carolina. The mission of the organization is to work to improve the substitute care system by educating the community, speaking out about needed changes, and providing support to youth who are or have been in substitute care.

Over the years Trent’s desire to make a difference in children’s lives has grown.  She is currently employed as an administrative assistant at Building Blocks Early Education Center in Hope Mills, NC.  And now she is getting the education to be the best childcare provider that she can be.

“I like the feeling of being able to provide the supportive education that every child deserves. After all childcare providers are shaping the minds of tomorrow, today!”

The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, and in Smithfield at Johnston Community College.  For more information, visit