Jana's Extraordinary Story

Providing Hope and Healing

Jana grew up in an extremely dysfunctional household. Her father was a violent, abusive man, and her mother was addicted to both alcohol and drugs. Jana and her siblings were in and out of domestic violence shelters. By age 17, Jana had dropped out of high school to pursue a relationship with a man 15 years her senior, who soon also became abusive.

“I became pregnant at 18 and slowly lost my self-worth, my drive, my dreams and my freedom.”

Providing a Safe Home

Jana with her family

Jana felt alone and scared. Ten years and two children later, she realized she needed to leave the relationship in order to provide a safe home for herself and her children.

Despite having a protection from abuse order, Jana’s abuser continued to harass her. Although her abuser broke into her home and sexually assaulted her (which resulted in her becoming pregnant with a third child), Jana received little support from law enforcement. At one point, her abuser was awarded custody of their three children after falsely accusing Jana of assault.

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty and Violence

Jana’s pain and anger at the criminal justice system fueled her toward her goal of breaking the cycle of poverty and violence for women like herself. Jana became the first person in her family to attend college, where she studied human development and family studies. Jana hopes to turn the pain of her youth into support for others.

My education has given me the opportunity to make this world a better place. I can relate to frightened families. I can offer them hope and healing with no judgements. I want to be a voice for the oppressed and disenfranchised.

With nothing but determination to succeed, Jana is living proof that change is probable, possible and likely.

“Grants like the Live Your Dream Awards have helped me to live my dream. They have helped me to fight and survive. I am fortunate and grateful for my opportunity to receive an education and I want to pay it all forward.”


Soroptimist relies on the generosity of individuals like you to improve the lives of women like Jana. Your support gives women the help they need to overcome obstacles—like poverty, domestic and sexual violence, and addiction—and follow their education dreams.

Please consider donating. Your gift of $100, $50, or even $10 today will go a long way and will transform the lives of women in need!

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