Taylor Bradley has always been fascinated with law, politics, and helping others understand their rights.
“I dropped out of high school at 15 and got my GED after I found out I was pregnant,” Bradley said. “My son was my motivator for sure. I felt like I couldn’t make him go to school unless I went back.”
Bradley began attending Kankakee Community College in the Paralegal/Legal Assistant Studies program. She received a scholarship from the KCC Foundation.
Early on, she cried in her advisor’s office. “I was really bad at the program at first,” Bradley said. “Dr. (Kristine) Condon told me we were going to get through it together. She asked how I learned best. I’m a very visual learner so she adapted her teaching style to accommodate me.”
Bradley’s grades shot up, and she branched out in her studies by taking a paralegal special projects course.
“(Judge Michael) Kramer and Dr. Condon knew I was bilingual so they assigned me with two other students to the Democracy Commitment project to create self-represented litigant user guides and instruction videos,” Bradley said. “I used three different translation software (packages), the court house interpretive staff, and my own knowledge to translate the guides into Spanish. I tested them on my Spanish-speaking friends, and they worked.”
In May 2018, Bradley and her partners—Marta “Mattie” Gulyash and Sara Cleveland—received a national honor, the Bernie Ronan Award for Student Action. “They court house didn’t have anything like this before our project, so our work is really meeting a need.”
After graduating from KCC, Bradley completed a paid internship at the Kankakee County Courthouse, and she now works as a paralegal and office manager at Alan F. Smietanksi Law Firm in Bradley.
“There’s so much more to know,” Bradley said. “I think I’ll go back and continue taking classes.
“It’s worth the struggle. If I didn’t have my son, if I didn’t have to struggle through classes, I don’t think I’d be where I am today. I’m now very appreciative of everything because I started with nothing. I had to work for it all and the things I learned along the way are priceless.”
The Continuing Education Department at Kankakee Community College is offering online classes for personal enrichment this fall.
“Beginning Conversational French” includes practical, common French phrases which are useful for those visiting a French-speaking region of the world. Topics will include speaking in various situations and learning some cultural tips. Cost is $94.
The “Conversational Japanese” class will be guided by a native Japanese instructor. Participants will gain cultural knowledge, useful conversational phrases and vocabulary words particular to a specific area of travel. Audio aids and Japanese words written in the English alphabet will also be offered. Cost is $94.
“Introduction to Interior Design” teaches how to transform plain living spaces into beautiful and functional rooms. Lessons will include designs from floor to ceiling, color theory, industry trends, floor plans and other basics. Careers in interior design will be introduced. Cost is $94.
“Creating a Successful Business Plan” shares methods to turn business ideas into a solid plan for financing and long-term success. The course covers creating a business plan, which is often a difficult first step on the path to small business success. Cost is $94.
The “SAT/ACT Prep Series” has two courses, one to prepare for the math section and the other to prepare for the verbal questions. It helps students maximize time on each portion of the tests. Weekly assignments encourage work with your classmates and the instructor to maximize performance on the ACT/SAT. Cost is $199.
The start date options for all courses are Sept. 12, Oct. 17, Nov. 14 and Dec. 12. These courses do not award college credit. More information and registration is at ed2go.com/kankakeecc. For more information or to make a payment, phone KCC at 815-802-8206.
The Career Services Center at Kankakee Community College is offering five free seminars on job search skills this fall.
“Job Search: What Works & What Doesn’t” includes how to properly complete an employment application, find and use various job searching tools, best practices for submitting resumes and proper follow up techniques. Meets 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29 at KCC in Room D122. Course number is LECT 8920.Q13.
“Preparing for Your Interview” teaches how to approach your next interview with increased confidence by learning tips that help an applicant land a job. Meets 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19 at KCC in Room D123. Course number is LECT 9035.Q13.
“Working a Job Fair: How to Improve Your Odds” gives insight on how a job fair is structured and how to impress area employers. Meets 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27 at KCC in Room D123. Course number is LECT 9057.Q13.
“The Nuts and Bolts of Writing a Good Resume and Cover Letter” shares how to create a job objective that gets results and showcase employment and education background in a chronologically formatted resume. Components of a successful cover letter also will be reviewed. Meets 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17 at KCC in Room D123. Course number is LECT 9034.Q13.
“Develop Your Job Search Tool Kit Using Social Media” helps participants develop a job search tool kit by using traditional and nontraditional job search methods such as social media outlets, College Central, LinkedIn and much more. Meets 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 14 at KCC in Room D123. Course number is LECT 8920.Q23.
Instructor for each session is Ken Crite, coordinator of career services for KCC. The sessions do not award college credit. To register for any of these free sessions, or for more information, call 815-802-8207; go to www.kcc.edu/comejoinus (choose KCConnect and search by course number); or visit the KCC Welcome Center on the first floor of the Workforce Development Center.