Recover & Rebuild: How this Multnomah Mom of Two Became a WomanFirst Success Story

“This is all mine? For me? To make the decision to do what I need to do?” Those were La’Quonda’s initial thoughts when she received her UpTogether cash payouts through the Multnomah Mothers Trust. As she continues to reflect on the monthly investments, she says the impact is clear. 

“It was astounding. It helped me catch up on all my bills,” said La’Quonda, a proud mother of two. “[The cash investment] pushed me to say ‘I need to have something to show for this’ and allowed me to open my mind and use it in the right ways. It gave me an opportunity to think bigger and broader about what I want.” 

La’Quonda is one of 100 Multnomah County mothers participating in the Fund. She was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and says she loves the public transportation in her city, enjoys going on hikes, appreciates nature and feels that other states “have nothing on Oregon’s crisp spring water.” 

“I love Oregon,” she said. “[I like] the fact that it’s very family-oriented. I’ve traveled all over Oregon, it’s such a beautiful state.” 

For the past 5 years, La’Quonda has also been deeply connected to WomenFirst, a center that provides a nurturing environment for women to rebuild their lives and self-worth while also supporting their growth through empowering leadership. 

“When I hear WomenFirst, I smile,” she said. “It started as a community of women that can help each other and show each other the ropes that we’ve forgotten or misplaced in our lives. Now I have a sisterhood that is undeniable.” 

La’Quonda is now 4 years sober and confidently says “I’m ready to get back to my life” after recovering from a time hindered by drug addiction and domestic violence. 

“I [have] learned how to take care of myself, and love myself enough to love someone else – including my children,” La’Quonda said. “I started out in a rough stage and I’ve come a long way.”

Her experience with WomenFirst led to her involvement with UpTogether and the Multnomah Mothers Trust–a connection that allowed her to rebuild and take control. 

“It has given us the ability to put forth the goals that we have set for ourselves. It opens us up to so many new doors, taking ownership and leadership [of what we want for our lives],” she said. 

After paying off debt, back pay on rent, and tickets to reinstate her driver's license, La’Quonda and her children successfully moved into a two-bedroom townhouse. She then started a life insurance policy for her family, has learned to save money, and is looking to buy a home of her own. 

“I wasn’t into any of those things prior to [getting involved],” La’Quonda said, explaining that she now feels more confident about her future success with the information she gained by being a part of this community.

She’s also become closer with her parents and is intentional about spending more time with her children.

“It allows my family to see that I’m not struggling or stressed out all the time trying to get the money, especially coming from a recovery state of mind,” she said. “I’m not thinking about recovery, I have the opportunity to think about other things.”

La’Quonda is quick to admit that being a part of this journey with 100 other mothers in Multnomah County has been a life-changing experience. 

“To know that there’s other women that are receiving this and have the opportunities that I have is amazing,” she said. “It goes to show that you can recover and get back to life, and to know that there is someone that wants to give you the opportunity to grow – financially, and emotionally – it makes you want to just keep going… it’s heightened my standards.”

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