Thursday, 22 July 2010 7:29 P.M.
of Oakland County helps to turn lives around in a positive way
Kiovanni stands in front of her new home in Oak Park, Mich.
after receiving support from Lighthouse of Oakland County.
PARK, Mich. -- Former Pontiac resident Alisha Kiovanni
heard about Lighthouse through a friend when she was looking for
safe, affordable housing options for her and her children. Getting
to know about Lighthouse could not have come at a better time.
"I went through a bad divorce, and had an abusive relationship,”
Alisha said. “My house was in my husband's name and was foreclosed,
so we stayed at a friend's house."
For years, her sole identity was that of a wife, homemaker, and
mother of her five children. Since she hadn’t worked for a
number of years, and it was difficult for her to take the necessary
steps to protect herself and her kids.
Alisha took back her life with a sense of authority and control
with the help of Lighthouse PATH, she began that important journey
Moving into PATH’s apartment complex, Alisha learned many
of the skills necessary to a single parent. And she began researching
and working toward a career in culinary arts, taking classes and
eventually graduating from the Art Institute of Michigan with a
specialty in pastry art.
“It's about putting your mind to it; you can accept it or
be isolated, which is normal.” Alisha states. “I feel
like it's just a new beginning for me. It's very powerful for feeling
for a woman to be self-sufficient."
PATH, a part of Lighthouse that provides a variety of services and
assistance to single mothers, helped Alisha learn how to write track
and develop career goals, open her own bank account, and eventually
find a home in Oak Park.
Now one of Alisha’s goals is to build a clientele for a pastry
business. "I still do independent baking; I'm an entrepreneur
at heart. It’s great to create jobs for women like myself,
and also give back at Lighthouse (with) volunteer work. I can tell
other women who are like me my story," she goes on.
feels more comfortable with other parts of her professional life.
Alisha shares physical custody of two of her children with her ex-husband
and his wife. She has worked to partially repair that relationship
with her ex-husband while still serving as a mother to her five
children. What she learned from Lighthouse is the method of gaining
and maintaining power and control over her life and surroundings.
"I tried to show my children what I'm going to do by empowering
myself with education and the tools I've been given,” she
continues. "You can relax here. I had to really switch gears
(in my life). Without me, there is no them. When I looked at it
now, I look at life so much differently."
more information about Lighthouse of Oakland County, visit www.lighthouseoakland.org.