If most kids could have one wish, many might ask for countless toys and candy, and infinite fun; but not Kiara H…the only thing she ever wanted was to be “free.”
Kiara, a self-described quiet, introspective observer, said the verbal and physical abuse she suffered during her childhood made her question if she had a place in the world.
“I remember sitting in bed in a state of depression. Imagine feeling like you’re chained to a tree, but you’re trying to run toward great things. That’s how I felt. It’s like I was being suffocated by life and the chain was holding me back.”
Kiara knew deep down inside her life had purpose. She just needed the resources and support to break free from her circumstances.
The “freedom” she hoped for finally came in May 2016
when Kiara was welcomed by a loving foster family that enrolled her into the Boys & Girls Club.
They had high hopes that the friends and staff at the Club would give Kiara another support system that would help her discover her full potential.
“I didn’t want to go to the Club because I like to stay to myself. I used to just sit and watch other kids.”
Little did Kiara know, an angel by the name of Ms. Iyaba, a former staff member at her Club, was watching her.
“Ms. Iyaba took time to get to know me and I eventually opened up and started socializing more. She was a positive role model for me. Ms. Iyaba overcame her own challenges, but she persevered.”
Because of supporters like you – who give your time, funding, and resources to make a difference – the Club served as a constant for Kiara, and in December 2016, another family took Kiara in with open arms.
“Ms. Dailey and Poppa are amazing. I really needed someone to help me navigate life and they stepped in and led me down the right path. I don’t know where I’d be without them.”
Kiara gives a lot of credit to CareerBound too. It’s a Boys & Girls Club program focused on helping kids prepare for college and career. This program, made possible by supporters like you, opened Kiara’s eyes to everything her life could be.
“I didn’t think I could go to college. I didn’t know there were scholarships to pay for school until I joined CareerBound. Ms. Robin gave us projects that helped us prepare for our future.”
“My Club gave me my first job as a junior staff member.”
Learning interview skills, participating in college tours, and attending SAT and ACT workshops were some of the opportunities that complemented what Kiara was learning in the classroom.
Kiara, who took the healthcare pathway at Rockdale Career Academy, completed her certified nursing assistant certificate (CNA), while juggling college courses during the day and taking other courses at night.
The 18-year-old is currently qualified to go straight into the workforce to begin working as a CNA, but Kiara wants to pursue her college degree.
“I’ve already finished half a semester of my college courses, but I plan to go to Georgia State to get my bachelor’s in nursing.”
Kiara said she also wants to finish her exams and clinicals in EKG, phlebotomy, and patient care tech so she can work at Grady Hospital while she’s in college.
After recently graduating from high school with a 3.4 GPA and several scholarships in tow, she reflects on all the obstacles she valiantly overcame. Her journey has sparked a tenacity in her that drives her to succeed even today.
The chains that once held her back now motivate her to push toward her dreams.
“Your circumstances don’t define who you are. I encourage people to stay strong and expect positive results. Chains can be broken.
There are great things in life for those who work for it.”
Your support allows us to provide programs that set up our youth for success. To learn more about how you can support our workforce development programs, visit bgcma.convio.net/collegeandcareer.