What a Difference a Year Makes

Donna entered SaintA’s Independent Living Services at the age of 19. At the time she had a dream of becoming a nurse, and she was just beginning her path at Mount Mary University. She was living with a roommate and managing life as well as a young adult could. She had aged out of the foster care system at 18, and once she realized how difficult it was to manage on her own, she wisely sought out the assistance she needed to succeed in life.

Keith Schroeder

Fast forward a few years. Donna overcame a roommate who skipped out on rent. Working with me, and using her own communication skills, she avoided eviction or worse, becoming homeless. She began working as a home health care worker to take care of her ailing father while living with a mother who continues to battle addiction issues.

Donna remained in school, striving to become a nurse. However, the stressors of life began to catch up with her, and her grades suffered. She was facing a hard decision: continue on in the nursing program and face expulsion if she received another grade lower than “B”, or look toward a new career path.

I’m proud to say that Donna utilized her relationships in life: with school, family, and our ILS program. After a long, long meeting with me, the idea of becoming a social worker began to take root. She began to understand that, in this field, she would be able to use her innate skills and abilities to help the people in her life as well as her community. Also, shifting her major to social work would help her avoid four more years in school. The final domino was seeing a growing job market for social workers and knowing that, with this career, she could maintain her lifestyle.

Also in her favor is the fact that Donna is a natural leader. She has met with Eloise Anderson, the secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, and she has spoken at our major agency fundraiser.

Donna is now on track to graduate from Mount Mary in December of 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in social work. She has had excellent marks from her internships, and she continues to expand her knowledge of trauma informed care through her participation in our ILS programming.

Donna has said she hopes to begin her social work career here at SaintA. We wish her nothing but the best.


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