Throughout Reiauna's life, her mom emphasized three things: faith in God, reading the Bible and the importance of a good education. Those values took on increased significance in 2012, when she was just 15.
That year, Reiauna's mom lost three of her aunts and her father. The tragedy took a big emotional toll on her. At the same time, the number of hours she worked as a dialysis technician began to decrease, causing further stress. Soon, the financial and emotional toll were too much. Reiauna and her mom found themselves homeless and came to Joy House.
“When I was at Joy House, I was too old to attend Cross Trainers Academy,” says Reiauna, now 17 and a senior in high school. “But I remember seeing the kids at the school, and I realized immediately that one day I'd like to come back and help them.”
One year later, after her family left Joy House, her chance came. She returned to Cross Trainers to tutor 2nd and 3rd graders. “It was my way of giving back after Joy House helped my family,” she says. “Tutoring these kids really touched my heart,” she says. “A lot of these kids have never had anyone spend so much time with them. Some may have even felt neglected. But here, we really work hard to make a difference in their lives. I'm grateful for the chance to give them hope and to encourage them to keep pushing forward.”
Today Reiauna's future looks bright. She just finished a summer internship with the Medical College of Wisconsin, and after she graduates from high school, she plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison to pursue her dream of becoming a surgeon. But no matter what her future holds, she hopes to continue serving the kids here at MRM through Joy House and Cross Trainers Academy.