Alumna helps people transition and recover from jail and addiction

BLOOMINGTON – Marilyn Burrus graduated from Ivy Tech Bloomington in 2015 with an Associate of Applied Science in Human Services and was able to start her career in her field of choice. Burrus is currently the Transitional Manager at New Leaf, New Life, a nonprofit organization serving individuals in their efforts to make a successful transition back into the community after incarceration.

Burrus enrolled at Ivy Tech in 2012 after a long hiatus from education since her high school graduation in 1973.

“My oldest son was in college at Ivy Tech and recommended I apply for a scholarship,” she said. “I applied in 2012 and started in the summer. I wanted to become a substance abuse counselor and Ivy Tech was close to my home and it was affordable. It was a challenge returning at the age of 57 but I had great instructors who were always willing to help me obtain my goals. There are tutors to help with things a student needs additional assistance with and the instructors are very helpful. Everyone is willing to help a student become a success.”

Burrus said her education and connections at Ivy Tech helped her start her career. “I was able to work study for my first two semesters, which allowed me to get a good foundation in the beginning,” she said. “I joined Phi Theta Kappa, which was a great achievement for me. I met so many people that helped open doors to my future plans.”

Burrus was offered her current position at New Leaf, New Life during her final internship at Ivy Tech.

In addition to her role at New Leaf, New Life, Burrus established Courage to Change Sober living, Inc. in July 2016 to house men and women recover from incarceration or rehabilitation.

“The reason my partner and I started it was due to the lack of support for those dealing with addictions,” she said. “Many come out of a bad situation, jail or rehab, with little to nothing. Their chances of being able to maintain sobriety are very slim without support. We have the vision of building communities within our houses. We encourage peer to peer accountability. There are rules and they do have to pay a weekly fee to stay, but we give them the time to find a job and become self-supporting.”

Burrus is now enrolled at Indiana Wesleyan University after transferring her associate degree from Ivy Tech.

“IWU accepted all of my credits from Ivy Tech and I have six more classes to finish my Bachelor’s degree,” she said.

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