Jahmai Valentine, Myaa, started the PATHS program in the summer of 2017. She grew up in Katy, living with her grandmother. She has always tried to set goals and look into ways to transition from school to community. At Morton Ranch High School she was assisted by Ms. Gamble, with the Prep Program, a team of teachers and a diagnostician to support her. After finding a pamphlet for the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), she and her grandmother met with Ms. Tammi Bui, her DARS representative. Ms. Bui introduced them to the PATHS Program. DARS is now part of the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). Myaa also received a scholarship from her high school to help further her education.
While in high school Myaa was part of a support organization called YOUNGLIVES. Young Life is an organization concerned enough about kids to go to them, on their turf and in their culture, building bridges of authentic friendship.
Myaa grew up living with her grandmother. Her grandmother has helped Myaa set goals and has supported her throughout her life. While Myaa is in the PATHS Program, her grandmother is keeping Myaa’s little boy, Jeremiah, who is 4 years old. They visit Myaa often and he is a very important part of Myaa’s life.
Myaa said, “She has been my shoulder to cry on, ears in listening and a hand to hold. My son is my life. He is very important to me, so whatever I decide affects him. I am a single mother, raising my child, with the support of my grandmother, Sheila, uncle Hidasa and aunt Rilla. These individuals have always been there for me, even with all my faults I couldn’t have asked for a better support system than these individuals.”
Myaa is in the Direct Support Professional (DSP-G) track in the PATHS Program. She enjoys the hands-on experience and interacting with the patients so they can get a better quality of life. She is training in her practicum at Broadmoor Place in Bryan and will graduate from the program on May 7, 2018.
Goals are important to Myaa, and she knows she wants to continue her education. When she shared these goals with her PATHS advisor, Ms. Crawford, she helped her fill out the application to attend Blinn College. She has been accepted and will begin classes at Blinn after she completes the PATHS program.
Myaa wrote, “I would like to end by saying don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do something, and if you got a dream, dream it, live it, and see it; because although along the way I’ve had teachers tell me “I am in the wrong class” or since you had a child “you can’t be in color guard” which was a passion of mine “because you have other responsibilities.”
This is a wonderful program where I received much support from staff members. This program has really prepared me for the community; where I can make a better life for me and my son.
This has only made me stronger. Now I am faced with someone else telling me I can’t attend college because of funding. I am going to find a way because I’ve found that once you have a dream, that’s where your life is; that’s where you are. Being happy!