Thirty-three-year-old Weldezghi and his 30-year-old wife, Semhar, moved to Cincinnati as refugees from Eritrea, in northeast Africa. In 2017, two years after arriving in Westwood, Semhar heard about Santa Maria Community Services’ Promoting Our Preschoolers (POP) program and enrolled with her oldest daughter, Betelihim, now 8. Weldezghi and Semhar enrolled Betelihim in POP because they value education and want the very best for their family.
Since then, the couple has welcomed sons Nabuthe-5 and Athunatios-2, and daughter, Naomi-3. After Betelihim graduated from POP, her little brother, Nabuthe started the program. Regine Gordon is their home visitor. “Weldezghi and Semhar have been amazing to work with,” Regine said. “They show such joy when interacting with their children! They are education-focused and goal-oriented!” Weldezghi is just as fond of Regine. “[She] is nice and always helping my family,” said Weldezghi. “I am always happy with Santa Maria and want to thank them from the bottom of my heart.”
While Semhar stayed home with the couple’s children, Weldezghi was working part-time as a State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA) and just graduated from Cincinnati State with a nursing certificate. He’s now working on completing 120 unpaid preceptor hours so that he can take the board exam to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).
Pursuing his dreams was made more difficult recently when Weldezghi and two of the children came down with COVID-19. Thankfully everyone recovered. During that difficult time, the family benefitted from Santa Maria’s rental assistance program. The family also received assistance with diapers via Santa Maria’s diaper distribution program made possible by Sweet Cheeks diaper bank.
Now, Weldezghi hopes to one day become a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. Santa Maria will be there to help Weldezghi make that happen. Weldezghi said, “Santa Maria is a meaningful organization that helps people improve their lives.”