Scholarship recipient from BHA self-sufficiency program encourages residents in public housing to enroll

LaWanda Donald provides information and possibly motivation to residents seeking a path to self-sufficiency at Bromley Heath public housing development.



Life was not easy for LaWanda Donald after her children's father died from type II diabetes in December of 2006--leaving her with three mouths to feed and bills to pay. But after enrolling into BHA’s Family Self-sufficiency Program, she discovered that a career in information technology was more attainable than she thought.
“A friend told me about the program and I spent some time thinking about going,” said Donald. “Then finally, I realized, what else do I have to lose? Most of my children are grown so I can finally pursue my dreams. Why not? So I enrolled in the program in 2014.”
While at Roxbury Community College, Donald was an active member of Phi Theta Kappa, and the Honor Society. After she graduated with an Associates Degree in Administration Information Technology this year, Donald enrolled into BHA's Family Self Sufficiency Program (FSS) where she recieved a Health Insurance scholarship. While in the program, Donald established a healthy relationship with the program's coordinator, Maria Chavez. Donald also started working part-time at Bromley’s computing center, lending assistance with computers and providing information about the program to residents. She now takes classes at UMass Boston where she’s working to obtain a Bachelors Degree in computer science.
“I’ve always loved computers and technology in general,” Donald said. “My dream is to create applications one day.”

"Like apps that you can download on iPhones?" 

“Yes,” Donald said.
When discussing the low percentage of women working in the field of technology, Donald said that she is more concerned with pursuing her dreams than breaking glass ceilings. In fact, she wants to inspire everybody, especially residents in public housing.
“I really enjoy giving people information about this program because I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for anyone to get back to their education,” said Donald. "It could be difficult to get back, but as long as you know you have more to gain than to lose, it could be very easy.”
At the age of 25, Donald dropped out of college to raise her middle child, who was sick with asthma and pneumonia. As a full-time parent, Donald actively supported her children’s interests and dreams, while teaching them the importance of education---a concept her parents taught her.
Now, seemingly blessed by youth, Donald regretted none of the sacrifices she made, including her decision to be a stay-at-home mom. For Donald, the benefits of parenting at home included developing a strong and healthy relationship with her children, as well as, recieving their enormous support to continue her education.
“I would say that my children were very supportive of me going back to school," Donald said proudly. “My daughter brought my granddaughter, Amaya, to see me at my graduation.”
Amaya who began first grade at a charter school this year, was too busy enjoying the various play gyms around the Bromley Heath park. She was asked what she appreciated the most about her inspirational grandmother.
Amaya smiled and answered briefly before running off to play again.
“I like that she gives me what I want.”

For more information about BHA's self-sufficiency program, click here.


| 10/23/2015 9:42:25 AM | 0 comments


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