Getting Ahead 'Essential' to Two Women

posted 8/1/20 -- Two Lorain County women have weathered a variety of storms to find a new path to their goals.

Shelly and Zenobia were part of a larger group taking a Getting Ahead class from LCCAA at the Haven Center. The ladies learned about the program while staying at the Haven Center, Lorain County’s only 24-hour homeless shelter, operated by Neighborhood Alliance.

The original group included 10 residents before in-person meetings were ended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Facilitator Nancy Ann Smith worked with local and national resources to take the program online as quickly as possible. While not all members of the group were able to join, the online class worked very well according to the ladies.

Shelly and Zenobia were able to complete the class using their phones and considered doing so an “essential” task. They were six weeks into the program before the in-person classes ceased and had learned significant research skills they were able to use to find ways to continue learning until Smith was able to convene class online.

“I learned good advice,” Shelly said. “I learned to be frugal and now I’m able to save. It was the best decision of my life.”

Shelly said completing the class online required perseverance with poor cell phone reception. However, it was an improvement over riding a bike two miles in an Ohio winter.

Zenobia described herself as “elated and mesmerized in the early classes.” Having endured a long recovery from brain surgery, she felt the class helped a great deal with her patience level. Once she learned how to do it, connecting to the class online was both relaxing and fun, she said.

Both Shelly and Zenobia now have their own apartments in Lorain County and Shelly has signed up to complete her GED. Both ladies also cited faith as an encouraging factor as well as their facilitator. They highly recommend the class and the online option.

“It can change your life,” Zenobia said. “You’ll be enlightened.”

Online classes are forming continuously. Contact Amy Steele at or 440-204-3121 for information or to sign up.