Alla & Stella
2013 Saint Paul Graduates
“I had no goals, no plans,” 2013 graduate Alla admits in thinking about her life before she came to Jeremiah Program. “I worked at salons and bars but I really wasn’t taking anything seriously.”
And then she found out she was pregnant. A childhood friend who was a Jeremiah resident encouraged her to apply and soon she was completing empowerment training while she was still pregnant. “It was a great choice for me. Having a place to live and a place for my daughter meant I had the opportunity to get my degree. I learned how to plan and to take control of my life,” she says.
Alla, who emigrated with her family from Kiev, Ukraine, when she was nine years old, earned her associate’s degree in business information technology from St. Paul College and now works as a Human Resource Technologist for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Her almost 4-year-old daughter Stella is thriving in a Russian early childhood center where she moved after “graduating” from Jeremiah’s child development center.
“Stella is doing really well. Her vocabulary is expanding and growing so much. She is really smart. I am in the process of having her tested to start kindergarten early. I was worried about us leaving Jeremiah Program but we both were so well prepared.”
Today they live in Burnsville in a lovely apartment with a swimming pool for active Stella. “I want to get a house soon and keep moving up with my job,” Alla says. “I want to travel and give Stella everything I can.”
She has strong words of advice for new residents: “You must be serious about this. The rules are strict and it’s hard work but it’s temporary. If you stick it out, you will improve your life and your child’s life. I know this.”