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Technology for All provides technology solutions for community issues

Posted June 12

Since 2005, Technology For All has partnered with Rice University to provide free WiFi to residents from the... Read more...

Mishona Steadman

"I'm 29 years old. I grew up in Houston, Texas, on the Northeast side.
 
I had a bit of a rough childhood. I have a mother who was addicted to drugs. But I had a great father. He was disabled, and he was the best dad I could ask for. So without him, I probably wouldn't be where I am today. I have two sisters and two brothers.
 
After school I decided I wanted to go to college. I enrolled in [the University of Houston Downtown]. It was due to my dad's passing that I wanted to go to school. I wanted to make him proud, and achieve better for me and my family, me and my kids. Because before my 21st birthday, I already had four kids. My son, my oldest, is twelve. I have a ten year-old daughter, I also have a nine year-old son, and an eight year-old daughter. They're doing really well. They're in karate. My one daughter, she's starting a leadership group at school.  My baby boy, he has an intellectual disability, but he's doing really well. Makes straight A's. They're all good, and they mean everything to me. 
 
I worked while I was going to school. I started working in a hospital when I was 18 as a housekeeper. Then I decided to apply for a patient care assistant position. I got the job, and I worked for St. Luke's, Memorial Hermann, Methodist, and Texas Children's for six years. And then my contract ended. It was due to the relationship I was in with my kids' father. He was very abusive. At first it wasn't physical; it was emotional, and mental, but then it became physical. And one night he almost killed me. I made the decision to leave, and I lost everything that day. I lost my job, my vehicle, my place to stay, a lot of my kids' clothes; I lost just about everything in one day. I went to Louisiana.
 
I came back a few months later in June. And that's when my best friend [now my husband], who I've known since I was twelve, helped me and my kids out, and we came together. I fell in love with him; he's really changed my life. 
 
I've been an advocate for domestic violence for a lot of young ladies for a long time. It's something I love doing, helping people get out of those situations. It's been a long road for me. Four kids, it's not easy. I tried my best to make sure that I take care of them and not do anything stupid or crazy, or hurt my kids in any kind of way. 
 
When I found [the BankWork$ program], I was really depressed. I actually found it on Facebook. In the interview I was all nervous. I hadn't had an interview in a while before that. But I ended up getting in, and I was so happy. 
 
The week before [graduation] I was about to quit the program. I allowed my mom to come back into my life. And she had been doing really well, helping me watch my kids and picking me up on the days that I went to the program. But then she kind of stopped. And I just gave up. So [Jose Velez] calls me and he said 'you need to get back to class. You need to finish this program. We're about to graduate.' And I came back, and he said 'I need you to be the speaker [at graduation]' and I said 'I don't know if I should.' He said 'you have a great story, you need to tell your story.' And I did.
 
If [Jose Velez] }wouldn't have called me, I wouldn't have gone back. And I'm glad I did. Capital One called me, and the lady offered me any location from a  list. She said ‘we really want to hire you.' We found a location that's close to me, and I started working there on November 7th of last year. It's been good. 
 
[My favorite part of the BankWork$ program] was just learning. A lot of people don't like criticism. I first I hated being criticized by anybody, even if it was good or bad. I felt like they were attacking me because I was in a situation for so long where I was criticized every day. But [Jose Velez, SER BankWork$ Instructor, Coordinator, and Job Developer] helped me learn how to take criticism, and not be angry. And [my classmates], they are my second family. We communicate with each other periodically. I actually organized a little reunion tomorrow afternoon. 
 
[My husband and I] went from living in a hotel room, to a one-bedroom apartment and not having much. But we managed. We made due. I don't know how. We just made it. And then from the little one-bedroom, now living in a bigger place and I'm thinking ‘this is all happening so fast.’ It wouldn't have happened if I hadn't gotten in [BankWork$], because I couldn't find a job that worked with a school schedule.
 
I'm looking forward to getting into the corporate world of banking, and going back to school hopefully at the end of this year so I can attain my goals.
 
[The BankWork$ experience] is life-changing. Because of Mr. Jose, you know how to react, you know how to handle situations better. Mr. Jose is an awesome teacher. He's very professional. And I wouldn't have made it without him. He was a big part of me finishing and changing my life. I haven't really been able to thank him like I want to thank him. He saved my life, and I don't think he knows that. 
 
I was really in a dark place. I was really depressed. And I didn't know what to do. [The BankWork$ program]  was really life-changing. I didn't think I would be in a situation where I could pay my bills. I didn't think it was going to take me this far. So I'm very happy."
 
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Click here if you'd like to learn more about the BankWork$ program.