Yalonda was born and raised in Cincinnati, but moved to Rockhill, South Carolina in 2003. She owned a beauty salon and was doing well, until her relationship with her children’s father turned abusive. She decided that it wasn’t a safe environment and moved back to Cincinnati.
“I called my mom and she sent me some money, and I was out of there. I didn’t want to leave but I knew that would be the best thing for me and my children,” she explained.
Without a car, housing, or a job, Yalonda struggled. She turned to government assistance to take care of her family. “It was really hard,” she admitted.
But Yalonda kept going for her kids. “I knew as a mom, I had to show my kids that I couldn’t keep us in that same spot,” she said.
Fortunately, Yalonda soon met the manager of Easterseals Prosperity for All, Brandi Lewis, whom she described as an “angel.”
“When I met Yalonda, I remember she had a bright smile,” Lewis said. “Sometimes with Prosperity for All, you can get folks that are motivated and are not so motivated. And when you can get someone that’s super motivated, you want to stick to them and really work with them. So I knew Yolanda, I wanted to work with her in the future.”
The first step was for Yalonda to secure housing so she could fully commit to Prosperity for All training. Once she was settled in, Lewis called Yalonda and asked if she was still interested in training. “It was history after that.”
Now Yalonda is a phlebotomist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and doing well. When she first started, she was working on an as-needed basis, but with her dedication and strong work ethic, Yalonda was soon working more than 40 hours a week. That turned in to a full-time position and a strong role in both inpatient and outpatient phlebotomy. Yalonda next aspires to be a nurse practitioner.
“That woman works like crazy,” said Clinical Lab Supervisor Danielle Arrasmith. “If there was a need, Yalonda is there. She really cares a lot about her department, her team and the patient. Her drive, and that contribution is really what has helped make this be successful.”
“She’s an ambassador for Prosperity for All, I tell her that all the time,” Lewis said. “Because not only did she take advantage of the opportunity, she ran with it and did some good work. And she puts out great word about Easterseals.”
“I’m a big advocate for Easterseals because I feel like it really…they’ve been on my side since day one,” Yalonda said. “All my barriers they broke. I’d like to say thank you because without them, it could have been possible, but they really made it possible for me to get better with me and my children, my lifestyle. They’re making my life so much easier.”
“When I look back, I don’t want to go back that route. And if I had to go back that route, I still would choose Easterseals when they came to me, because they really changed my life for the better,” she concluded.
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