She Got by With a Little Help from Some Friends . . . and the JVS Adult Career Center
Renee Boone, Computerized Business Technology, Class of: 2012
Illness. Jobless. Homeless.
Renee Boone was at the end of her rope.
But instead of letting go, the Elyria resident found solid ground through the Lorain County JVS Adult Career Center.
After leaving an unhappy marriage, Boone and her four children found themselves homeless. "When my husband and I separated all I walked away with was my clothes and my kids. I lost my job as a result of the separation as well," shared Boone.
So Boone and her children - Mariah, Lee'na, Pierce and Conner - moved in with her sister, Carmelia.
"I needed to make some significant changes in my life," said Boone, who enrolled in the JVS Computerized Business Technology Program in September 2012. "I knew I'd be starting over from scratch, but my life had turned upside down. I didn't think things could get any worse."
Three of her children were injured in a car accident. Lee'na, hospitalized with facial injuries, has already undergone two surgeries - and might need another.
At Christmas, the mobile home she recently purchased caught fire, forcing Boone and her children back into her sister's living room.
And Boone, who suffers from severe allergies and is diagnosed with idiopathic anaphylaxis, had three "close calls" recently.
"I go into anaphylactic shock, lose consciousness and end up in the hospital," said Boone, who now keeps an epinephrine pen close by.
Boone's doctors still cannot determine what she is allergic to, but she is determined to survive this obstacle like she has so many others.
Originally, Boone was thinking about a career in social services.
But a brochure from the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services office led her to the JVS and changed her mind.
"Becoming a social worker would've taken me six years, but the Computerized Business Technology Program was only nine months … it was ideal for my situation," Boone said.
"I was nervous, but after the first day in class I knew I was in the right place," said Boone, who earned her Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certificate while enrolled in the program.
The door to Boone's new career opened quickly after she completed the CBT Program. She is now employed as a Scheduling Coordinator for Dr. Thomas DiMassa, an orthodontist who operates Braces by DiMassa with offices in Westlake and Lakewood.
"There was a lot of competition for the job," Boone admitted. "I was in a room with about fifty other applicants. But I was hired after my very first interview. I know the training I received at the JVS gave me an edge."
Boone said that her trials and tribulations have made her stronger, including surviving an electrical fire in her home in December.
"The fire chief said we were lucky to be alive ... that it was the worst mess of wiring, and some of the most hazardous conditions that he'd ever seen," she said. "It was the lowest point in my life."
"But I knew that God had a plan for me and sure enough, thanks to my family, my friends and the JVS, my kids woke up Christmas morning to their best Christmas ever."
Adult Career Center staff members and Boone's classmates at the JVS donated money, clothes and gift cards; a local electrician volunteered his services with the Elyria Masonic Lodge members paying for the materials; and family and friends bought her new appliances.
"The presents were overflowing under the Christmas tree," Boone said. "It was overwhelming. I cried while my mom took pictures. And whenever I'm struggling, I look at them to remind me of how blessed I really am."
Boone also earned college credit that can be used at LCCC still thinks about becoming a social worker.
"Maybe when my children are older, but for now, I'm self-sufficient. I'm in a really good place."