I began working with Yolanda in the Fall of 2008. At that time she was a 21 year old, single mother of a 1 year old son and she was seven months pregnant. Her boyfriend was incarcerated at the time of our first meeting and Yolanda was experiencing extreme financial hardship. Together we covered the basics of getting the heat turned back on, job searching, rental assistance to prevent an eviction, food banks, finding resources for clothing for both children, furniture for the home and a PA identification card for Mom. Yolanda’s cooperation and willingness to work with me to get these things done, was impressive, but what I consider to be her greatest success happened by chance.

One day as we were working to accomplish the above goals, Yolanda mentioned that she would like to get her GED so she could go to college. From there we began looking for the resources to pay for the test; unfortunately, I wasn’t able to locate any. I went to my director and asked if JusticeWorks could pay. After many assurances that I wouldn’t always expect this and that Yolanda could indeed pass the test, I got the okay. She started studying both on her own and with my help. I timed the practice tests and played with her son. She figured out which areas she needed more help in and started studying more. During this time we went to an open house at the local community college. Yolanda was excited about the prospect of going to college and found out what she needed to do to apply.

By this point Yolanda was extremely pregnant and the doctors were expecting her to deliver early. For the next two weeks we kept our fingers crossed that she wouldn’t give birth before finishing the exam; she made it and completed the test!

Shortly after she completed the test CYS opted to close the case. At that point her boyfriend had returned to the home and I had helped him with job hunting. One of the local temporary agencies offered him work and everything seemed to be back on track for the family.

A few weeks later Yolanda called to let me know she had delivered a healthy baby boy.

A few weeks after that she called to let me know she had passed her GED.

A few weeks after that she called again to let me know that she had been accepted to Harrisburg Area Community College and would be starting classes in June, 2009.

Thank you to Alyson Riedel, York County JusticeWorks for doing whatever it takes to achieve a positive outcome!