The Road Home

Educational Support Opens New Doors for Kids

With some guidance from our educational specialist, Larissa is now enrolled in a CNA course she had given up on. A generous grant ensures this program will continue.

*Larissa, a senior in high school, did not see college in her future but she was interested in becoming a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant). Larissa’s high school offered CNA courses, but Larissa was not enrolled in the program. When she asked her school counselor about the program, her counselor told her the classes were already full.

That could have been the end of the story, but fortunately it wasn’t. Larissa was working with Qiana Holmes-Abanukam, The Road Home’s Educational Specialist. Qiana knew that if Larissa was participating in the CNA program at her high school, she could qualify for scholarships for CNA training after high school. Qiana met with Larissa and her parents and provided some coaching about what steps Larissa could take to advocate for herself and get into the program. A week later, Larissa reported that she had spoken to the counselor again and had been accepted into the school’s CNA program. Qiana and Larissa have now started the process of enrolling Larissa in Madison College.

Stories like these show that sometimes a little extra support can go a long way. And that’s exactly what Qiana does—provide that extra support for kids to reach their educational goals in families who face some of the highest barriers. Qiana works with the 30 families living in The Road Home’s two different Housing & Hope sites. Each of these families have experienced homelessness and are now stabling housed and working to maintain stability and meet individually set goals. Research shows that these kids face an uphill battle – but that with the resources the need, they can be successful.

Established only three years ago, this new program aims to increase student’s school attendance, increase the number of referrals to supportive programs, increase graduation rates, and increase performances set forth in United Way’s Schools of Hope including children reading at a 3rd grade level and completing algebra by 10th grade. Already, results are starting to come in. Qiana has worked closely with 60 students. 100% of those who could graduate from 8th grade of high school have done so. Children have also been matched with supportive services and mentors.

Recently, a generous gift from CUNA Mutual Foundation has ensured that the program will continue for the next two years. This means more children in our community will receive the resources they need to be successful.

*Names have been changed to protect the family’s privacy.