January 26, 2018  |  Civic Engagement Education Financial Health Health New Orleans Social Capital Transportation

Kyla Smith

My name is Kyla and I’m from New Orleans, Louisiana. I’m 22 years old and I was nominated in 2015 to join the FII family by a fellow FII member. Starting off in the program I was very unsure because one of my weaknesses is meeting new people , but as time went on I started to open up more.

My biggest struggle was that I was a single parent that was in college and working petty jobs to make ends meet — my living conditions weren’t the best and I struggled to get around with no transportation. As I began to share my story some FII members started giving me resources to help me. One member gave me information about a head-start program. I applied and my daughter got in that following school year. With her in the program, I was able to work more and make more income.

I also became very active in my own community. Being the only one in my neighborhood with internet access I thought it would be nice to invite people to my house to help them fill out applications for jobs, social work paper work, homework etc. I eventually started a social club that brought young girls into my home to talk, eat, chat, and just help them find resources to help them — thanks to FII.

As time went by I noticed I wasn’t making enough money to support myself and that I had to do something fast to get financially stable. Talking to my liaison about my past and obstacles I went threw as a young girl, and issues I was facing at the moment, she advised me to use my story as a gift to others. So I applied for a grant that helped me pay for a class that taught drug & alcohol awareness. Eventually after taking the class my income literally tripled. I went from making $800 monthly to close to $2,200 a month!

Completing my journals every month helped me see my growth. It helped me organize my thoughts and helped me complete my goals. It’s now December 2017 and my life has changed drastically. Not only am I making more income, I’m currently enrolled in nursing school, I have a decent apartment, and I just bought a brand new car.

I just want to tell FII Thank You! Your organization was my biggest blessing yet !!!!!!!

FII has changed my life in so many ways — not only did I meet great people but I found courage to challenge my goals.

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