At the age of 18, instead of being consumed with thoughts of college dorms and freedom, Vyktoria Olivares’ thoughts focused on her infant daughter. How she would raise her alone while pursuing her goal of being the first in her family to graduate from college? She knew she had to leave the pain of the past behind. She had to focus on what she could do in the present to create a much happier future for herself and her daughter.
Olivares’ parents divorced when she was four years old, and her grandparents raised her. At the age of 16, she moved out and went to live with her boyfriend. At 17, she gave birth to their daughter. The young family moved to San Antonio. Just before her daughter’s second birthday, the couple divorced.
Olivares’ mother lived in Hawaii, her father lived in South Carolina, and all of her siblings lived out of state. The mother and toddler then moved to Brownsville to live with Olivares’ aunt. Eventually, Olivares and her daughter moved. Although receiving housing and food assistance at the time, Olivares’ goals included supporting herself and her daughter without government help.
“I wanted to provide my daughter with the opportunity to come to me for guidance so she would not feel alone like I did,” Olivares said.
Changing the Trajectory
With the help of Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement, Olivares graduated in May with an associate’s degree in respiratory therapy care. She will now take a National Certification Exam to earn her certification as a respiratory therapist. Olivares will then take the National Board for Respiratory Care’s two-part examination to earn certification as a Registered Respiratory Therapist. She is one significant step closer to her goals.
Thanks to the financial assistance from VIDA, Olivares was able to stay focused on school instead of trying to balance school while working to pay her bills and her school expenses.
“VIDA has allowed me to become a positive role model for my daughter,” Olivares said. “I am providing her with the guidance she needs to empower herself through education.” In the process, Olivares has noticed a significant shift in her own self-confidence.
Change is possible. By choosing to change her life trajectory, Olivares has chosen a much better VIDA for herself and her pre-teen daughter.