CINCINNATI, Ohio (November 1, 2021) —In 2019, Daja Moore, the single mother of a toddler, was barely scraping by financially. Then came an unplanned pregnancy, which brought more worries. To become self-sufficient, she knew she had to do better than her part-time job stocking medical supplies in a hospital.
Her mother’s advice: Ask for God’s blessings, tell him what you need, and connect with people who may lead you in the right direction.
Daja, now 31, eventually connected with people who led her to Project Lift, which is operated by United Way of Greater Cincinnati. Daja’s desire for a better job, her willingness to work hard, and timely assistance from Project Lift have brought her financial stability, and with it, a sense of security.
The story begins on a summer day in 2019 when Daja and a coworker she had never met chatted briefly in a hallway at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Yalonda Render was pushing a phlebotomy cart with supplies for drawing blood from patients. On a lunch break, she took Daja to the phlebotomy lab and introduced her to supervisors. Yalonda said she had become a phlebotomist with help from Project Lift and Easterseals — a United Way partner and one of 22 Project Lift sponsor agencies.
Daja could envision herself doing such work. Never afraid to try new things, she has been a bus driver and a department store clerk. She has cleaned hospital surgical rooms.
Daja contacted Easterseals, which enrolled her in Prosperity for All, a United Way-funded program designed to empower lower-income adults to provide better lives for their dependents. Easterseals provided her with baby items. And on Thanksgiving Day 2019, Daja gave birth to her second child.
The quest to become a phlebotomist could have been derailed by Daja’s inability to pay for training. That’s where Project Lift comes in. The public/private partnership is designed to remove barriers to securing sustainable income so families can achieve financial stability. When Easterseals’ Donna Lindsay-Thomas said Project Lift could cover the cost of phlebotomy training, “It was a great burden off my shoulders,” Daja said.
Daja enrolled in a 16-week phlebotomy course offered by the Center for Medical Services. Owner Gail Goode was her instructor. She also became a trusted friend. They lived close to each other, and since Daja did not have a car, Goode drove her to every class. “I’m not going to let you fail,” Goode told her.
Goode and Lindsay-Thomas recognized the challenges Daja faced in balancing parenting duties with phlebotomy classes and a part-time job at Cincinnati Children’s. Lindsay-Thomas checked on her frequently. When Daja fell behind on her rent and water bills, Lindsay-Thomas paid them using Project Lift funds. Such short-term assistance often is critical as families work toward self-sufficiency.
Daja finished classes in spring 2021 and then completed six weeks of clinical training. But another challenge remained: the certification exam.
“I studied hard,” Daja said, noting that Goode helped her prepare. Daja rejoiced when she received her scores, which she said were among the highest in the state.
Next, she secured a job interview. And then came an offer. In June, she accepted a full-time job, with benefits, as a phlebotomist at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
Her life is no longer laced with uncertainty. “I have a sense of security now,” Daja said. “A sense of security was something I always worried about. I needed to make sure I was financially stable for my children. That’s my main focus.”
Learn more about Project Lift or apply for assistance at uwgc.org/ProjectLift.
United Way of Greater Cincinnati is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization [Tax ID: 31-0537502]. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.