Davianna Lee, 24, is doing her best to make a good life for her 2-year-old son, Tariq.
She works full-time at The Arc of the Quad-Cities Area, a nonprofit that provides services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She keeps up their apartment home in Rock Island's Jackson Square, and makes a point of sitting down with Tariq every night as a family to eat dinner.
But she is striving for more. On her kitchen counter are two packets of information, one from Scott Community College and the other from the Midwest Technical Institute, Moline, about programs to become a licensed practical nurse or a medical assistant.
Loans for tuition will eat into her budget, but she hopes to begin one of the programs in January. "Most people tell me this is the route to go," she said, referring to the SCC program, "but it's a longer process. Nursing, that's my goal."
If she went to Scott, she would continue her job at the Arc and take night classes.
In hindsight, she said, she should have tried to go to college right after graduation from Rock Island High School where she consistently made the honor roll.
Instead she got a job at a pizza restaurant doing everything from working the cash register to making the food. She also found a second job as a resident aide at the Handicapped Development Center, Davenport.
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When she became pregnant, she dropped the pizza job, keeping her work at the handicapped development center, and moved out of her mother's house.
"I might still be living with mom if it weren't for him," she said of Tariq. "Some people, when they have kids, that motivates them to do better." She decided it was time to find her "own place and start taking a little responsibility."
"I'm the first girl (in the family) and I should be a good example," she said, sitting on the sofa of her apartment. "I should be a role model for my sisters."
Next to the sofa is an empty, carpeted dining area. After two years of living in the apartment, she hasn't been able to afford a dining set. She and her son sit on the floor, Indian style. Furniture "would mean a lot to both of us," she said. That is her Wish List wish.
"Tariq is very smart, and I know he sees the difference of how we eat at home and how he eats family style at the child care center, at a restaurant, or at a family member's house," she wrote in her Wish List application. "He is aware that the only place he eats sitting on the floor is at home."
She also wants him to learn the skills of setting the table, cleaning up and developing table manners.
Her second wish is for a washer and dryer.
As a program trainer at The Arc, Lee helps clients who come to the organization's day program with personal care and eating, activities such as bingo and watching movies and to work on their goals, be it exercising or using money.
While Lee is at her job, Tariq goes to the Skip-a-Long Child Development Services, Rock Island. Lee was nominated for Quad-City Times Wish List by Tanisha Harris, of Skip-a-Long.