How I Found Myself

By Lakisha Smith


On March 18th I officially graduated from First Step. A job training program for low income and homeless women, it’s just one of the programs provided at the Coalition for the Homeless. I remember when I first decided to embark on this journey, I never imagined that I would gain so much or discover new qualities about myself; as well as old attributes that I thought died so long ago.

I have to thank my best friend for giving me the information to this wonderful program that I believe every woman should take advantage of; this program is for woman who have lost themselves, woman who need direction and women who are looking for a fresh start. When I started First Step I had no real expectations from the program, I just expected to take full advantage of the opportunity that they were giving me. Once I started the program I realized that the computer training wasn’t the hard part for me. Mr. Barnes is a great instructor who is genuinely invested in teaching the women of First Step.

It was the social workshops that I found most challenging. Through these workshops I was forced to dig deep and ask myself some difficult questions. Who AM I? I couldn’t answer that and hadn’t the slightest idea even where to begin. I thought to myself who are you Kisha? This was the hardest question that I ever had to answer. I had no clue. I was lost with no direction and no voice. It was these types of questions that Liz, Elena, and Jacqui created that forced me to look within and find my voice, find my passion, find out who I am. It made me look at who I used to be, who I am now, and who I wanted to be. I am truly thankful for the entire staff at First Step. I appreciate them for their support and dedication to helping women who are lost, broken and beaten down by life. You never made me feel less than, or like I wasn’t worthy. You actually did the opposite. You gave me hope when I had none. You saw what I was capable of when I doubted myself, and most of all you gave me a chance when so many people had written me off and counted me out, myself included.

It wasn’t easy; however my hard work and dedication to the program did pay off. In Phase Two of the program I was chosen to be the intern in Eviction Prevention at the Coalition for the Homeless. I enjoyed working there. I felt I was part of the team and was no longer insecure about the things that I didn’t have. I found my passion for helping people. While interning In Eviction Prevention an Administrative Assistant position became available and I applied. I am honored to say that I am now employed at the Coalition for the Homeless, and I am surrounded by an entire supportive team that has one common goal: advocating for people in need. I would not have been afforded this amazing opportunity had it not been for First Step. I thank you for the time and effort that you put into each group of women that enters into the program. It is much needed and much appreciated.

Who am I? My name Is Lakisha Smith, and I am an advocate for individuals who need assistance. I am a mother, sister, daughter, friend and co-worker who has a passion for fighting for injustice and so much more. I was not able to answer this question before attending First Step. I found direction, I found my passion, I found my voice, and most of all I found myself.