CINCINNATI (July 27, 2022) — On the worst day of her life and in the dark days that followed, Asia Thompson almost gave up on her dreams.
Up to that point, with help from United Way and one of its partner agencies, she had been working toward earning a GED diploma, training to be a medical assistant and gaining a foothold on a brighter future for her and her family. But on Feb. 28, 2021, a mass shooting in Cincinnati ended the lives of her sister, her brother and a family friend, and injured her father and a nephew.
“I wanted to give up on so much when that happened. Give up on my schooling,” says Asia, who is 30. “I didn’t want to go out of the house. I found out I was suffering from depression. I wanted to give up.
“But I didn’t.”
She says she pushed forward because of her children — daughters ages 10, 5 and 4. And because she received help dealing with depression from a therapist and psychiatrist. And because United Way and a partner agency believed in Asia and have continued to provide the support she needs to achieve financial well-being so her family can thrive.
Asia has faced other hardships. Her middle child weighed less than 2 pounds when born and was hospitalized the first eight months of her life. The girl has lung issues but is doing well. Seeing the care her child received in the neonatal intensive care unit solidified Asia’s desire to work in the health care field. “I love to help people,” she says.
She and her children live in City Heights, a public housing complex built in the 1950s on a Covington hilltop. When it rains, water enters Asia’s apartment, which has mold. When her children go outside, they are bullied.
“They don’t feel safe,” Asia says. In October 2021, residents learned the outdated, deteriorated complex would be shut down within three years.
Now, however, Asia can envision a better life for her family. It’s possible because United Way supports wraparound services that are helping her meet short-term needs while preparing her to enter the workforce so she can achieve long-term economic well-being.
United Way’s Stable Families program helped Asia get a car. She’ll need it when she starts working, and it’s now easier to take her children to doctor’s appointments and go grocery shopping. Stable Families also has helped with items such as diapers and household products.
Asia enrolled in the Center for Employment Training (CET) at Brighton Center, a United Way partner agency. There, she earned her GED diploma this past April, and she recently completed training to be a medical assistant. Her next steps: a four-week externship at a family medical practice; and then, her first job.
“United Way has made a huge difference for me and my kids,” she says. “It’s important to me for my kids to see that you can do it. Never give up, keep pushing toward your dreams, what you want to be.”
Her dreams, now resurrected, include someday returning to school to become a registered nurse. They include buying a home where her kids can safely play outside. They are dreams shared by every parent: “I want my kids to be happy,” Asia says, “and live their best life.”
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.