Jahlea’s Story

With dreams of becoming a pediatrician someday, Jahlea was determined to get her high school diploma and continue her education. However, as a pregnant senior in high school who lost both of her parents and has been unable to afford a place of her own, her journey has not been easy. She knew she had a long road ahead that was complicated by her lack of stable housing. For a time, she stayed with a family member. But because of domestic disputes she had to leave. Then she found space with a friend, but when the friend could not house her any longer she was forced to enter the shelter system, which — sadly — relocated her and her son five times.

Throughout all of this she tried to finish her remaining high school classes. She stayed in school until the last few weeks of pregnancy, but after giving birth she had no one to watch her baby. The only school that provided childcare was very far away.  A computer would have enabled her to take classes online but even if she had one, she couldn’t afford internet service. 


She requested a computer, internet service and a few books, “I don’t like TV or the phone. I love to read books. It helps distract me from my life,” Jahlea said.  She also wanted some essentials for her baby. “He now loves to eat and I know his heart’s desire would be spoons, bowls and a high chair.” According to her nurse she sings, laughs, plays with the baby. Nurse Anna says that despite the frequent location changes they are a stable family unit. “She is truly a joy, loved by all”.  Fortunately, a $1,000 Heart’s Desire Award satisfied all these requests and Jahlea is now back on track toward her goal of becoming a pediatrician.