24 yr old Student of Atlanta Technical College
Think getting kicked out of your home is the worst thing that could happen to you? Try having it done to you TWICE. Now imagine that even upon looking back at everything that happened that your parents were ACTUALLY doing the best thing for you…I know hard right, well Meet Valencia Allen.
When I began this project to interview people for this Blog, I envisioned turning on a tape recorder and asking a few questions, and getting well laid answers to these questions. I envisioned being able to simply copy the words, almost exactly from each recording directly onto paper, as If it were an actual conversation; what my first interview-ee gave me, was anything BUT what I envisioned. HA!
Talking to the Atlanta Tech student in her bathroom, while she puts on makeup, one would think that she is older than her twenty-four years; much older. It’s not that she looks “old”, at all, but her demeanor, her confidence, her laughter, all speak of wisdom that only comes through experience, and what experience could a twenty-four year old have, that a twenty-nine year old does not? I mean seriously…
But, it is just that impression that she gives off to me, as I fill her in on my plans for the Non-Profit that I am building. And how does she do this?
By telling me her dreams of her own Non-Profits that she hopes to build one day. —A Homeless Shelter for teen Mom’s and Dad’s that is more dormitory style and a more traditional shelter that is for the general population, but also dormitory style.—-
These are not the Normal dreams of Normal, dare I say it, kids her age. Then again, she is not normal, she is remarkable, and she isn’t even a kid, she’s a woman; A woman of Perseverance.
Valencia was born in the winter of 1986 to a prostitute addicted to drugs. Her birth mom left her at the hospital where she was delivered, and never came back for her. And her birth father was MIA, so Valencia was placed in foster care and then adopted six months later by the two individuals whom she now calls Mom and Dad.
The Allens provided a loving and supportive home for Valencia, and furthermore provided her with a family who was willing to
Dr. and Mrs. Allen provided a supportive and loving home for Valencia, and upon her graduation from Westlake High School in 2004, helped her land a singing scholarship at Andrew College in Cuthbert Georgia. She only stayed a year, before coming back home to transfer to Atlanta Technical College, there she switched majors from Nursing, to Medical Assistant, to Medical Transcriptionist….all while on her parents dime.
Getting frustrated she quit school, and was kicked out of her home in a measure of Tough Love exhibited by her parents. She then spent the next two years in New Jersey working at a bakery and staying with an Aunt and Uncle on her Father’s side of the family. During this time, she considered not going back to school, but did want to return to Atlanta.
So, she moved back in with her parents and got two jobs with Metro PCS, and a Nursing Home. After only six months of working both jobs, and falling to sleep at the Nursing Home while on the job, she was let go of on one, and quit the other.
Once again, her parents were not thrilled by her decisions, and kicked her out again. This time she experienced severe depression as she was forced to live in a Homeless Shelter. This experience so impacted her view of the homeless and allowed her to see some of the different ways one can become homeless. That not everyone that is in need of such shelters are lazy, nor are they good-for-nothings. Moreover, she realized how much she had taken for granted considering that she had very little money, no car, and no other financial support.
Valencia became friends with a fellow resident by the name of GiGi. The two pooled their resources together and went out to look for employment together. It wasn’t long before they both decided to get out of the shelter, and moved into an Extended Stay Motel with three guys. For two-three weeks the arrangements went ok, there was drama, and tension, but overall spirits were up, until GiGi took off with the rent money.
Valencia had been away on a job interview, and had given her part of the rent to GiGi before leaving. This money also happened to be all that Valencia had left, so when she came home to find GiGI gone, and that the Landlord had not been paid for the next week, Valencia contemplated suicide.
If not for a phone call to interrupt her plans, this interview might never have taken place. The call was from the son of her hairdresser, one “Uncle Bernie”. Hearing all that she was, and had gone through, he and his Father came and picked up Valencia from the Extended Stay, and offered her a room to live in until she could get back on her feet.
From here she got a job at a nursing home as a house keeper, broke her toe, quit this job because of her toe, got another job at Arbor Place Mall in a Pet Store, moved in with some co-workers and contemplated going back to school.
When getting back with her parents for the 2009 Superbowl, she expressed these wishes to her folks, and the next day they asked about her commitment to this undertaking. Because the quarter was already one month in, her parents asked her to go to California to help take care of her Maternal Grandmother. Complying with their wishes, she went and healed emotionally from the scars obtained over the previous two and a half years.
When she came back to Atlanta, she enrolled in Phlebotomy at Atlanta Tech, and after finishing that Associates Degree with a B average, she enrolled in Hemodialysis Patient Care Technician and is set to Graduate from this program in March. She is currently shopping around her resume and going on interviews.
For me, here are three keys to take from this and they are from the lips of Valencia herself:” –
- “Live the Life that you want to live.”
- “Stay Positive” – There’s always someone worse off than you.
- “Don’t Be Afraid to ask or HELP.” – The worse thing you can hear is the word “no”, and “what is life without rejection?”
- “Be more independent.” – Being able to stand on your own two feet is amazing.
And finally for herself, Valencia says:
I have to be grateful for what I’ve been through, if I never had that phone call, I’d be dead.