The Ultimate Holiday Gift: Graduation

cropped for blog postThe holidays are upon us, and with them come thoughts of giving. We’re fortunate to have received many gifts of needed items, time, and financial resources, from caring hearts that make what we do here possible. We believe that being able to serve others in this way is a gift as well.

 We’re reminded of this privilege when we think of Aleshia, who celebrates a special day today. We originally shared her story in our October 2014 e-newsletter, and are happy to report some new developments.

Two years into her chemistry courses at the University of Central Florida — with career goals in the medical field — Aleshia fell in love and became pregnant with her first child. With her education put on hold, the growing family decided to make their home in Deltona.

The couple quickly had two more children, one of which was diagnosed with autism. Since they could not find any schools or daycare centers in their community that catered to children with special needs, Aleshia stayed at home with the children while her boyfriend worked. When the relationship crumbled, she could no longer rely on him for support.

Aleshia researched shelters, found out about the Coalition, and decided to take a risk and move here, knowing that Orlando is a great place for children with special needs. “We needed to start over,” she says. “And I wanted my daughter with autism to have the same opportunities as other children.”

Her case manager at the Coalition helped her enroll her daughter in Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten at UCP of Central Florida, a charter school for children with special needs. With her other two children attending the Coalition’s on-site daycare and receiving individual help through Compass Counseling, Aleshia could focus on herself.

Aleshia took the reins of her future through our on-site Goodwill Industries job skills training program, the CredAbility financial literacy workshops, and a one-year program at Everest University.

Today, Aleshia graduates from Everest University as a Medical Assistant. She currently works at a Walgreens Healthcare Clinic, a position she landed because of her outstanding grades and a recommendation from her professors. She’s has also been offered a position by the pediatrician’s office in which she interned, and is hoping to be able to move back into the community the first of the year.

I could not have made it this far in my education without the community’s support of the Coalition,” says Aleshia. “I am so grateful for my case manager, the staff, the volunteers, and everyone who believes in us.”