It's Never Too Late to Go Back to School: Beverly Sweeney Joins the LIFE Program at RCBC
Thursday, Nov 02, 2023


Beverly Sweeney

Beverly Sweeney, a native of Burlington County, has been attending Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) since 1972. After graduating high school, she earned her nursing license and discovered her passion for caring for children. She enrolled at RCBC and completed her associate degree in early childhood education to work full-time with children.

Shortly after receiving her degree, she began fostering and caring for her four biological children. Sweeney believes that adults can learn a lot from children, as she did while fostering. With her experience in foster care, she realized that mental health plays a significant role in caring for children.

Being a woman in that particular time frame, trying to maintain a balance between work, school and personal life was not an easy task. "Despite having enormous support from my husband to achieve my goals, I was the primary caretaker of my children,” Sweeney said. “However, if you are determined to achieve something, you must put in the effort and go for it."

Sweeney returned to school to obtain a degree in psychology and a master’s in social work. Following her graduation, she began working in prisons, where she was able to empathize with inmates due to her experiences as a foster parent. During some days, inmates had the opportunity to express themselves through painting and drawing. Sweeney was amazed by their talent and skill and became inspired. Beverly Sweeney painting

Working in a prison can be very stressful, and she felt that she needed an outlet from the chaos that was happening around her. That's when she decided to come back to RCBC to pursue her degree in Fine Arts and Photography. She found this experience exciting and her husband, a wonderful partner who encouraged her to pursue her dreams, became involved in her projects. Unfortunately, he fell sick and passed away. She found solace in music, which helped her heal her heart and soul.

Sweeney always had the motto of, "Tell me ‘no” and I'll find a way." Her mother was unable to obtain an education due to her father's early passing. Beverly became emotional while recounting her story, as she remembered her mother's persistent encouragement for her to take music lessons. "I guess I went back to my roots in pursuing music, and I feel like going back to school to receive a great education honors my mother," Sweeney said.

Now Beverly greatly benefits from the RCBC LIFE Program as it helps her to refocus on developing her music skills. While pursuing multiple degrees in school provides a better understanding of what you want to do, the program has also helped her to problem-solve and better understand the variety of changes that are occurring around her as a senior. Sweeney is looking forward to graduating with a degree in music and is excited to learn how she can help others heal from pain.