Aaliyah joined the Every Child Succeeds (ECS) program at Santa Maria when she was 15 weeks pregnant with her son, Amari, in July 2019. Aaliyah was committed to providing the best life for herself and her baby, and she actively engaged in the ECS program throughout her pregnancy, always eager to learn and grow. Her Family Support Worker, JoAnne Dwyer, Every Child Succeeds Program Supervisor at Santa Maria, described her as motivated and committed to bettering her life and her son’s life.

Aaliyah’s dedication didn’t stop with her pregnancy. She took advantage of resources like the Comprehensive Case Management and Employment Program (CCMEP) through Santa Maria to develop a career for herself. With the help of Santa Maria’s Workforce Development program, Aaliyah enrolled in the Medical Assistant program, worked part-time while caring for her son, and completed the program, passing the certification exam after 9 months of hard work. She has now been a certified medical assistant for over 2 years, successfully maintaining a steady job in her chosen career while securing safe and stable housing and paying off a car with help from the United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s Project LIFT program.

Despite facing challenges, Aaliyah remained committed to her son’s growth and development, actively participating in the ECS program and seeking help when needed. She worked with JoAnne to implement strategies for Amari’s language development and sought help from a pediatrician, who referred Amari to speech therapy. Aaliyah diligently scheduled appointments and continued to engage in conversations with Amari, witnessing his language skills flourish. During their last home visit, Aaliyah and JoAnne shared a heartwarming moment as they observed Amari confidently discussing ornaments on the Christmas tree. “This green one goes here. Oh, here’s the red one; it goes here,” he said as he lovingly placed the ornaments. Aaliyah expressed her gratitude to JoAnne, the ECS program, and Santa Maria for providing her with opportunities to be the best mom she can be while achieving personal and professional success. Aaliyah and Amari graduated from ECS earlier this year when Amari turned 3.

Aaliyah’s journey is a testament to her resilience, determination, and unwavering commitment to her son’s well-being. She has overcome challenges, pursued her dreams, and continues to thrive as a loving mother and a successful professional. Her story is an inspiration and proof that with conviction and reinforcement, anything is possible. Santa Maria and its programs, like ECS, make a difference in the lives of young parents, providing them with the support and resources they need to achieve their goals and build a brighter future for themselves and their children. Aaliyah’s success is a source of hope, and she shows that with steadfastness and support, anyone can achieve their dreams.