She was parented by a mother and grandmother who were drug abusers. Left alone by her mom’s death before high school, she and her sister dropped out of school, loaded their belongings into a U-Haul and headed east. They settled on the east coast into an uncertain life. Desiring a change in this dysfunctional existence wasn’t enough until asking for God’s help. What a surprise He had for LaRhonda, a new direction! So, packing up again, LaRhonda migrated to Long Beach, California. However, much to her dismay, she discovered she was pregnant. The one certainty was this baby would have a childhood different from the one of her experience.
LaRhonda had heard of a program called COA for Woman and their children, offering a chance for an education and safe housing. She applied, was interviewed by the COA staff, program case managers and residents of the house. Since her acceptance into the program, she has moved steadily toward her goal. She started at Cerritos College with a dream to be a dental hygienist. Later, she transfered to Cypress College to complete her Associate’s Degree and become licensed. This is a stringent science curriculum with practical challenges with patients.
On May 28, she graduated with honors. Although she has passed the written exams for certification, she must also pass a practical with a broken finger on her right hand. One more challenge! As usual, LaRhonda immediately began to explore options and found a testing date to provide healing time.
All of this was accomplished while meeting the strenuous demands of the COA program and being an amazing mother to her son. LaRhonda has been a very involved parent choosing the best educational opportunities for her very bright, active son.
The dreams and goals now include a job and maybe some time for gardening, quilting, scrapbooking and more school — a bachelor degree and dental school.
LaRhonda has been an inspiration to all of us who have shared her journey with her. We are looking forward to many more awesome events as she continues on the road of life.
Case managers: Dottie Fuellman and Sydney Nichols