As a high school dropout and a divorced mother of three, Iris has had some major obstacles in her life. She lost her job due to funding cutbacks, her former husband had gone to prison, one of her sons was wounded in a shooting at age 15, then injured in a car accident and convicted of a felony that led him to prison as well. She has worked to overcome these obstacles by graduating from beauty school, receiving her G.E.D from Summit Academy, leaving the neighborhood and city where she once lived, giving up smoking and drinking and becoming an active Christian.
Iris once ran a day care out of her home because she wanted to spend more time with her children but was required to close it due to her son’s felony conviction. She has since attended classes at Minneapolis Community and Technical College in the Urban Teachers Program, taking 13 credits a semester and working part-time. She will finish the program in 2009 and become a teacher so she can help young people who have struggled the way she has.
Iris received a $1000 grant in 2006 when she was overwhelmed with bills and needed her driver’s license to be able to drive to work. She also bought a computer to help her with schooling. At age 43, Iris is working part-time as a family liaison, providing services to children and families in the schools and the community. In a few months, she plans to work in a juvenile center as a minister.
Iris said she could not have made the changes she created without her spirituality to help her stay focused, clean and happy.