On the Road to Success

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When you look at a map, it doesn’t seem that getting from Omaha, Nebraska to Council Bluffs, Iowa would be all that difficult. Pretty much all that separates the neighboring cities is the state line and a winding stretch of the Missouri River. It appears especially easy to navigate from one town to the other considering there are two major interstates connecting the cities.

But if you consider navigating this territory in the shoes Tatiana, you would find the commute from Council Bluffs to Omaha to be anything but a joy ride.

Tatiana with her first set of car keys

Tatiana was just seventeen years old when her daily commute took her across state lines from her home in Omaha to attend college in Council Bluffs, and she had to rely on her own two feet and public transportation to get there and back. Without a reliable adult to teach her how to drive, access to driver’s education or any funds to purchase a vehicle of her own, Tatiana was at the mercy of the daily bus schedule.

“When it was cold, those were the worst days,” said Tatiana.

Eventually, the commute to class got to be too burdensome and it proved to be one of the reasons Tatiana decided to quit college and instead opted to work full time.

Tired of being confined to places only accessible by bus or foot, Tatiana made obtaining her driver’s license and purchasing a vehicle of her own one of her first goals when she started working with Branching Out, Omaha Home for Boys Independent Living Program. Finally with a cheerleader on her side and a reliable mentor guiding her, Tatiana started taking the steps necessary to own and operate her own vehicle.

First, Branching Out helped Tatiana connect with and pay for a driver’s education course. After several hours dedicated to studying and driving practice, Tatiana passed her driver’s exam and obtained her driver’s license. And finally, thanks to the guidance of Branching Out’s budgeting classes, a generous matching gift from Opportunity Passport, and a lot of resolve and determination, Tatiana saved enough money to purchase her own vehicle.

Elation is written all over Tatiana’s face as she sits in her very own car for the first time.

“When I got my car, part of my brain was in shock,” said Tatiana. “I knew it was going to happen, I just wasn’t sure when.”

In August, Tatiana, accompanied by her Branching Out Independent Living Specialist Sam Callaghan, drove a white Chevy sedan off the lot and into a brighter future.

Today at nineteen years old, Tatiana is relishing in the freedom of no longer being at the mercy of the bus schedule. She no longer has to start getting ready for work an hour and a half ahead of her scheduled shift just so she can catch the bus.

Having a driver’s license and a reliable vehicle has not only allowed Tatiana to get to work and appointments on time, but it has also opened up doors to new experiences. One of the first places that Tatiana drove was a local lake that she had always wanted to visit but, prior to being a car owner and an independent driver, had no way to get there.

“I feel really good about myself right now,” said Tatiana. “I’m in love with my car. It’s so pretty to me!”

Tatiana’s future plans will keep her on the road to success – literally. She hopes to enroll in courses to get her

Sam (left) and Tatiana

commercial driver’s license (CDL) in order to one day become a truck driver and eventually own her own trucking company.

Sam has no doubt that Tatiana will accomplish her goals saying, “She’s confident, ready to tackle life, has goals and knows what she wants to do with her life.”

Your Gift Helps

Omaha Home for Boys cannot help young men and women like Tatiana without the generous financial support we receive from donors just like you. A gift in any amount can help purchase gas cards and bus passes, help pay for driver’s education courses, or help pay vehicle licensing fees so that young adults can realize their dreams to become independent drivers. Please give today!

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