Latona describes herself as a “generational curse breaker.”
After years of family toxicity, she came to the New Opportunity School for Women in 2014—mentally, physically, and spiritually broken. She was referred by her counselor, a graduate of NOSW.
“This referral began my healing and higher calling to become a soldier for myself and others,” she says.
But it wasn’t easy. At one point during the residential session, Latona’s family upset her so much that she decided to go home. A house sister convinced her to stay, and that decision made all the difference.
At NOSW, Latona gained a sense of purpose and direction. “I believe we all are vessels of purpose even if your story comes from great tragedy,” she says.
But a month after the program, she lost her younger brother to suicide, a brother she had raised. She felt that everything she had gained from NOSW was now lost. She fought for custody of her brother’s daughter and won, while also raising her own daughter. After she was cleared to relocate with the kids, she moved from Eastern Kentucky to Richmond.
“I spent about a year gathering my marbles,” she says. Her brother’s suicide had left her reeling. But eventually, about a year and a half after moving to Madison County, she attended a meeting of NOSW graduates.
“I got heavily involved,” she says. “I got back in school.” Latona now serves on the NOSW Board of Trustees and Program Committee and is pursuing a degree in social work at Eastern Kentucky University, where she has earned a 4.0 GPA. She recently moved to California, but plans to finish her degree online.
“The New Opportunity School was essential at helping me to master the skills needed to navigate and overcome situations that many people do not recover from,” she says. “I use my voice to pass the torch to others and ignite change.”