The Beginning of a New Journey

Dan Gregory July 30, 2018

The below speech is from one of our Audubon Crossing residents when she graduated from Plymouth Christian Youth Center Alternative High School with her  diploma. She had a choice a graduating with her GED, but chose to work toward her HS diploma once she found home at Audubon Crossing. 


Hello everyone, my name is Ya’kiana Donald.  It gives me great pleasure to welcome all of the guests tonight, but can we actually put our hands together to congratulate the class of 2018!


So tonight I stand before you my fellow peers this evening stating that you should never give up on your dreams. I came to Minnesota with just my daughter and myself. I was determined to get my high school diploma and to provide stability for me and my daughter. After attending a shelter called Families Moving Forward and working with my case manager, Rebekah, she helped me obtain my very first apartment and it didn’t just stop there. I went to Emerge to start the GED process but deep down I still felt like I wanted my high school diploma. I started calling around until I found PYC. I then began to call until I got through to someone and I set up an appointment to enroll into school. That’s when my goal to get my high school diploma was no longer a dream – it was reality. My journey has not been easy, being a young mom, working and attending school has been tough… but yet I was still determined to graduate…[To my daughter] Ya’niyrah, being a young mom means we met early but it also means I get to love you longer, some people said my life ended when I  had you. But my life has just begun…you didn’t take away from my future or dreams…you just made me work harder to succeed. I love you baby girl! Now that I have finished high school, this coming fall I will further my career into Nursing. I couldn’t have done this without my Mother, mom you have raised me into a strong independent woman. Raising 7 children all on your own I’m very aware was challenging but you pushed through and showed us you had it in you to strive for anything and everything you wanted. I couldn’t thank you enough. When I had Ya’niyrah, you told me I could still succeed and do anything I wanted maybe just take some time but I could overcome any obstacle possible. And I did.


In conclusion life is hard but don’t give up. Find people around you who won’t give up on you and won’t let you give up on yourself! Thank you!

Click here to read an earlier article about Ya’kiana from January 2018.