Lashawn had been a straight A student and was accepted into John Jay College. But despite her hard work and ambitions, she didn’t feel prepared for the real world. She hadn’t had guidance from her family about how to turn her aspirations into reality, to form her own identity, or find her happiness. She was vulnerable, and fell into string of abusive relationships, dropped out of school, and had three children with a violent man. One day, she realized she wanted to change her life and do better for her family, so she packed up her children and moved to a domestic violence shelter. She couldn’t get the traction she needed to finish her degree or find a fulfilling job. She felt like a failure, like she was out of control, like there was no way out.
Lashawn came to STRIVE to improve her computer skills and maybe get a job, but found so much more.
“Not only did I get job skills,” Lashawn said, “I got myself back. I learned the importance of taking initiative, doing my best, and having the right attitude. But most importantly, I gained self-confidence. STRIVE forced me to look at myself and understand where I was and how I got there.”
By the time she graduated, Lashawn was confident. She knew her worth, and she wasn’t going to give up. She moved out of the shelter, put her children in school, finished her own college degree, and found a job at the New York Department of Investigations, where she is still working today.
“Now I smile all the time,” said Lashawn. “And I want to thank STRIVE for helping make a future for me and all who will follow me.”