50 For 50 #12: Latonya

Posted on: November 12, 2019
Tags: 50 For 50
IKRON graduates waiting for their ceremony to begin

IKRON graduates waiting for their ceremony to begin

This is the twelfth in a continuing series of stories--one every day for 50 days--to conclude IKRON's year-long celebration of our 50th anniversary. Missed one? No problem! See the entire series on our news page here.

Two of the biggest barriers for Latonya when she started the IKRON program were low self-esteem and depression. She had a hard time looking for a job and was ready to give up, often times just wanting to stay in bed all day. Her mother referred Latonya to IKRON, where she was accepted for supported employment and individual counseling services. 

Latonya was honest with us later when she told us that the real reason she began IKRON services was, “I was interested in the free lunches that IKRON offers its students.” After a short period of time in the program, she gained more confidence, opened up in the group, and began to share more about her struggles. She asked critical questions, like “How do I talk to people?” or “How can I get a job? I’m depressed.” By asking the right questions, Latonya developed strategies to improve her mood and self-esteem, and eventually became a role model for others. She would often connect with other students and help them learn the ropes at IKRON.  

Eventually, Latonya obtained a full-time position as a bus driver for First Student, taking children to and from elementary school every day. She loves her job and has done quite well. Latonya often tells us how thankful she is that she came to IKRON and got so much more from us than just a free lunch.


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