Carol-Steegman-PhotoThe Wizard of Oz was always a favorite of mine as a kid, and, to this day, I see similarities in my own story. I always felt that my life before the trip down the yellow brick road into poverty was so “perfect.” I feel like the tornado hit my house, and I fell asleep and woke up in a whole different world. I didn’t receive a singing chorus from the Lollipop Kids or have the Good Witch hand over the magic shoes. What I did face was disconnect notices, license suspension, and eviction papers. The roads I traveled led me to Job & Family Services, CAC, and multiple agencies. Growing up in a “middle class” world never prepared me for the frustration and loss I would feel. The monkeys tearing apart the scarecrow and leaving the parts all over were how I felt about my own self-worth. My meeting the “Wizard” moment was the time I spent re-discovering myself during Getting Ahead classes. I had lost my heart, courage, and my brain was on overload! Throughout Getting Ahead classes, I was able to gain the balance and find a new and improved Carol. Someone who had been lost in a whirlwind, but came out stronger and wiser. Not that I would want to go through those experiences ever again, but, on the other hand, my pain has been my greatest growth! My yellow brick road is happening now, where every day I am given the opportunity to stretch myself and learn from experiences. I had a time where the thought of a rainbow was so far from my mind. Now I see the chance at “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” being in my reach every day I open my eyes and take a breath.

*See Carol Steegman’s testimonial on our YouTube channel here. Also, this blog entry was featured in the May edition of our monthly newsletter! In November of 2013, Carol Steegman was hired as the Bridges Coordinator for Hancock County/Findlay, Ohio.