"I may not be were I want to be. But I'm getting Ahead."

Written by Fernanda Amado

Connalita Stewart is nothing short of amazing. She is a fighter, a survivor, and someone who gives back too. Stewart has had to overcome many obstacle to get to where she is right now, but never once did she let them bring her down.

Diagnosed with cancer in 2008 at the age of forty-nine, Stewart thought that she was running on limited time but, she never once let that deter her. Now fifty-five, Stewart has been cancer free for four-and-a-half years. However, due to an excessive amount of radiation she now suffers from serious nerve damage in her right hand. Stewart makes the best of it and moves forward, continuing to be unstoppable.

First introduced to St. Margaret’s and Bridges Out of Poverty by her sister, she reflected, “My sister took me by there one day but she didn’t take me back and I couldn’t remember how to get back over here and we were kinda estranged so I didn’t ask. Then one day I moved down the street on Western and while walking my dog I looked over and I was like ‘okay, so that’s where that place is.’ So the next day I came over here and I saw Bridges. It took me a minute to go over there however, I did go over and one thing led to another and I started connecting the two.” Clearly, that connection was built to last because Stewart has now become a regular at both Bridges and St. Margarets.

Having graduated from Getting Ahead, Talk With Your Baby, the Bridges Financial Management Class and MC3’s Financial Peace University, she now is putting what she learned to practice. When asked what her biggest takeaway from the class Stewart replied, “I learned that I’m already ahead. I may not be where I want to be but I’m further ahead than I thought.” With a smile on her face, Stewart sat and recounted her experiences, “The class was very interesting, I never knew just how poor I was and what the poverty lines were. I learned about different values from different levels. [The Getting Ahead Class] helped me deal with a lot of things, especially my emotion about the fact that I’m not working and I can’t do a lot of things that I would normally do, or have the things that I would normally have. Attending those classes gave me a sense of worth and I looked forward to having something to, and I enjoyed doing it because I was learning.”

Through her determination Connalita fought, and beat cancer and is now working on fulfilling her dream of becoming a motivational speaker. Her final words were of advice and are ones to be followed, "No matter what you are going through it's okay to stop and take breather. Just remember that no matter which road you are on God does allow u-turns. And everybody gets them."