Elisa’s Story – “I want more. I have to do something for me.”

Tragically, Elisa and her siblings lost their mom at a very early age to cancer. As the oldest, Elisa promised her mother that she would do her best to raise her brothers and sisters, even though she was only 18 and had yet to finish school.  But she did it, and in 2018, Elisa said goodbye to her now successful brothers and sisters in Chicago and moved her four daughters to Indianapolis to find a new life and more opportunities.


“I fulfilled my promise to mom. Now, I want to do something for me,” she said to herself.



Through United Way’s Great Families 2020 program, Elisa’s journey began with the hard work of earning her honor’s diploma through the Excel Center. Next, the career and financial coaches at CAFÉ helped Elisa see that her career goals were in sight – she could move from working as a home health aide to a certified medical assistant. While Elisa pursued this goal, her daughters could attend high-quality education and childcare programs at CAFÉ at Mt. Carmel Community Academy.


Elisa is now enrolled at Ivy Tech and is on the journey to happiness and security.


“You don’t have to be where you came from. You can make your own path,” said Elisa with a smile.  “If I can have this drive, I’m showing my kids how to have this drive, too.”


United Way’s Family Opportunity Fund supports education and financial stability initiatives that strengthen families using a Two-Generation (2Gen) approach. Watch Elisa’s inspiring story and join one of three initiatives that will help end poverty in central Indiana.


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