Jenna's Journey to Leadership


Have you ever heard the term “lived experience?” Lived experience refers to someone who understands what another person may be going through because of their personal experience with similar challenges. At VOA, staff members with lived experience are the everyday miracle workers who set us apart as an organization. Jenna is one of them.

Jenna was raised in a dysfunctional home with an alcoholic stepfather. She was physically and mentally abused and turned to substance use as a means of escape from a very young age. Jenna went from her parents home to living with relatives to being homeless. 

"There was no place I truly called home and I felt lost. Time and time again I was failed by people in my life who were supposed to love me and take care of me."

She hit rock bottom when she received a 2-year prison sentence. During this time, she faced a huge choice; to continue letting the past dictate her life or build a new life with purpose. 

With love and support Jenna found her way to VOA where her life was transformed. She was able to get employment training, take classes to become financially stable, and most importantly, grow close to a loving community. Today, she is a wife, a mother of three, a homeowner, and a supervisor at VOA's El Dorado Navigation Center. 

Want to hear her full testimony? Watch below.