I Am Somebody

Tonya Ford

Tonya Ford

Enjoy Tonya's story as she shares how Bridges has been a part of her journey. 

Being a graduate of both the Getting Ahead and the Bridges Financial Management Class in 2015, Tonya Ford had a wealth of knowledge to share.  Since graduation, Tonya has now moved into an apartment and found employment. 

Tonya had been waiting to share her story after receiving the newsletters, and when the opportunity came, she shared in such an inspiring way. Tonya explained, “I was homeless but was not hopeless” recently.

When Tonya first attended the Getting Ahead class, she did not know what it meant to actually “get ahead,” and get out of poverty, but as she kept coming to the classes, she used the skills she learned to help her be in a much better place today.

 One thing that Tonya shared about the Getting Ahead class was the different lifestyles between the CEO’s of companies and the employees.  “There’s a huge gap and difference in how employees and CEO’s live,” says Tonya.  “Employees are riding a bicycle, a bus, or walking to get to work and the CEO has no knowledge of how the employees live.”

As Tonya kept going to the Getting Ahead class, she learned that there were skills to help improve her life as an employee, such as being on time, having good attendance, and getting along with your boss and co-workers.

Just a month after Tonya took the Getting Ahead class, she started the Financial Management class. Tonya said, “At first it was scary because I didn’t know what to expect.”  Tonya took the Bridges Financial Management Class at Ivy Tech. “I thought it was going to be a whole bunch of paperwork or homework.  I had an open mind to learn something different, something new, which I did every day.”  Tonya did not take advantage of the micro loan at that time, but now that she is saving for a car, she is thinking about doing it soon. 

The financial management class was a learning process for Tonya where she developed more tools and skills “like budgeting.”  Tonya records everything that she pays each month in a notebook, “and anything extra, I put it in the bank or spend it on myself.  Even if I only have five dollars left, I have saved something.”

Both Bridges classes have helped Tonya to see how she deals with life in general.  Tonya has seen the difference between taking classes and not taking them.  “I’ve learned to have a listening ear, an open mind, and to be willing to take suggestions regardless if l like it or not.” 

For anyone who is thinking about taking the Getting Ahead and the Bridges Financial Management Class, Tonya recommends to “stay positive, expect more, put in a lot, and your reward will be great.” 

Tonya has a plan for her future goals.  “I set goals from January all the way to December, and I accomplish all of them and even an extra one for this year.”  Tonya encourages people to "make goals, stick to your goals, and accomplish your goals.”  Tonya lives by her goals and she finds a solution.  “I had a problem, now I’m talking myself into a solution.”

For 2017, Tonya hopes to experience a new recovery by “living one day at a time, not overwhelming herself with situations that she cannot change, loving herself, and saying to herself that she is somebody.”