ALBANY, GA (WALB) - State officials recruited Albany State University students to help Georgians in need on Thursday need.
Georgia Division of Family and Children Services Deputy Director Virginia Pryor spoke to students about the state of child welfare and career opportunities in the social work field.
Students walked away with a wealth of knowledge on what to expect from the social work profession, and students were encouraged to know their "why", why they chose this career path, and be able to recall it when times get rough.
Pryor left the students aspiring to follow in her footsteps with an inspiring quote, "The best way to predict the future is to create it."
Dozens of Albany State University students walked into the lecture hall filled with young minds, eager to hear about Pryor's journey. Some of which were a direct product of Pryor's services, including ASU freshmen Ebony Cotton.
"I face many challenges where I thought conversations with my mom I could hold but I couldn't because she wasn't there. My dad, he wasn't there," explained Cotton.
At the age of five, Cotton was placed into foster care as her mom battled drug addiction.
"Going from different court dates to having to see different people for a different amount of reasons," said Cotton.
"We have some digging to do to figure out how we went from 7,000 children in the foster care system," said Pryor during her lecture.
To now, 13,000 children, and the very reason why Pryor was spoke to students at ASU on Thursday.
"To inspire them about the craft of service, to help them understand that they need to have a 'why' in terms of doing this work, why do you want to help people, why do you want to serve," explained Pryor.
Pryor's service and ASU's Fostering Through College Program are two reasons Cotton is a student at the university.
"To have someone or a program that you can rely on when you need advice or just someone to talk to at times. It has brought a lot of peace to my experience here at ASU," said Cotton.
As a pre-nursing student, the lecture opened Cotton's eyes to a different world of service.
Cotton said that the lecture made such an impact that she's debating whether to change her major to social work.