While that made life difficult, Hoffmaster, 50, of Wrightsville also saw the circumstance as an opportunity for a new beginning.
She evaluated her strengths, the economy and job market, and decided to pursue a new career in the medical field.
That choice meant she'd have to go back to school, so Hoffmaster enrolled at Yorktowne Business Institute. She started classes in 2011 and will graduate this summer. She hopes to get a job working in a doctor's office or hospital.
"I just thought now is the time to go for it," she said.
While homework hasn't been easy, she's pleased with her decision.
She said the support of her family - including husband Bruce and son Wesley, 22, studying sports management at York College - motivates her to succeed.
"I'd been out of school for so many years; it's been rough," she said. "I'm kind of glad, happy, proud of myself. . . . I just wanted to better myself for me."
Her daughter, Kaylin Hoffmaster, 18, is also a student at YBI and said she's pleased her mother is pursuing a new goal.
"It's great to see that she's doing something she likes to do," said Kaylin Hoffmaster, a 2012 Eastern York High School graduate who is studying culinary arts at YBI. "I'm really, really proud of her."
Kaylin Hoffmaster chose to attend YBI because it provides a faster education than a conventional college.
"It's a lot of classes crammed in," she said. "But I learn a lot."
She hopes to get a job soon after she completes her education later this year.
"I'm really enjoying it," she said of attending YBI. "I hope to find a job that I can show off what I've learned in school."
Accident prompts driving school
After viewing a photograph that depicts twisted remains of the car Michael Trimmer, his wife and their 5-year-old son were rescued from, it's tough to imagine how they survived.
But the mid-1990s head-on collision they suffered at the hands of a careless young driver - which left Trimmer in a coma for two weeks and his wife, Allison, in a wheelchair for life - proved to be a lasting learning experience.
Michael Trimmer recovered from the crash and found a way to turn the tragedy into a chance to make a positive difference in society.
He became a certified driving teacher, founded Five Star Driver Training School based at his Red Lion home and today teaches students of all ages how to drive safely.
The lasting impacts of the car accident are constant motivators in his role as a teacher. His wife suffered a broken neck and severed aorta. Their son Steven - now 22 and a former U.S.
"Once I get students behind the wheel, I am just all about safety," said Michael Trimmer, also a former U.S. Marine. He teaches driver's safety and education at Christian School of York and Red Lion Christian School. He enjoys his job as a driving teacher, and said "It's very, very rewarding."
He also teaches one-on-one, and has worked with students from 16 to 62 years old.
"I will teach and work with any student," he said. "I'm very flexible because it's only me."
Learn more online at www.5stardrivertraining.com.
RYUN SWANK is the assistant director at Brain Balance Achievement Centers in the Shiloh area of West Manchester Township, which works with school-age children that have neurobehavioral and learning difficulties.
The center doesn't tutor children but focuses on problems with abilities including balance, coordination and rhythm, he said.
Brain Balance also offers a nutritional program and eliminates food sensitivities, Swank said.
The center provides support for a year after each student's program ends, he said. During that time, he often gets feedback from parents who say they are grateful for the help their child received at Brain Balance.
"That's extremely satisfying," Swank said.
Brain Balance Achievement Centers in Shiloh will host a talk on learning problems at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 30 at Dover Area Community Library, 3700-3 Davidsburg Road, Dover Township.
Learn more online at www.brainbalancecenters.com.
BOB HOWARD is chief operating officer of River Rock Academy and Day Treatment, which provides alternative education in areas including Red Lion, Hellam and Spring Grove.
"We believe it's a very valuable service," Howard said. "We provide a very good program in a cost-efficient manner."
To learn more, call 717-751-5975 or visit www.riverrockacademy.net.
To find more sources for alternative education, visit www.education.state.pa.us.
PENNSYLVANIA LEADERSHIP CHARTER SCHOOL is a public, cyber charter school for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Students across Pennsylvania can enroll in PALCS tuition-free and attend school on the Internet.
Faculty and staff at PALCS have spent close to a decade refining the school's curriculum and programs to meet the diverse and changing needs of its student population. Two of the programs, the Graduation Academy and the Extended-Year Program, help struggling students catch up and meet graduation requirements. Both programs are credited with helping PALCS achieve a graduation rate that exceeds the state average.
PALCS' University Scholars Program specialized curriculum and opportunities are designed to maximize the intellectual potential of gifted and motivated learners. The Center for Performing and Fine Arts allows students to participate in the arts remotely or at the center in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
PALCS also offers students a mix of online learning and traditional classroom support in brick-and-mortar settings across the state.
Students who enroll in PALCS receive a complete desktop computer system along with textbooks and online learning materials.
Families are reimbursed for Internet access.
Learn more online at www.palcs.org or by calling 610-701-3333.
ACHIEVEMENT HOUSE CYBER CHARTER SCHOOL is an independent, tuition-free, public, cyber charter school open to students in seventh through 12th grades throughout Pennsylvania.
Each student receives a computer, printer, Internet reimbursement and curriculum materials needed to attend virtual classes in his or her home or at one of the Achievement House education centers.
AHCCS strives to meet the individual educational needs and interests of its students through a variety of programs, including Microsoft IT Academy, Career Studies, and AP and Honors courses.
AHCCS also offers Project Lead the Way, a hands-on curriculum focusing on science, technology, engineering and math at the middle school level.
Additional student support is available through the English Language Learning program, special education classes, Title I programs, tutoring and mentoring.
To learn more, visit www.achievementcharter.com or call 877-570-1657.
FOR A LISTING of local schools, visit www.greatschools.org.