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A Complicated Life: Turning point

Around 1998 Yolanda developed a relationship with Izear Davis, whom she married and had two children with.

But complications continued for her.

In 2001, after she failed a drug test, which resulted in a parole violation and almost being sent to prison for 5 to 30 years, the couple decided to move to Champaign, Davis said.


Yolanda’s two older children stayed with their father in Chicago. While in Champaign, she would occasionally talk on the phone with her children.

Davis now lives in Houston. He remembers Yolanda’s struggles with her mother when they became a couple.

“I recall times when (Yolanda’s) mother was yelling and throwing things at her and (Yolanda) was throwing things back … to the point where it seemed like it was no love there at all,” he said.

 Over the next several years the couple struggled to hold their family together as they faced marital and financial problems.

During this period the couple had multiple rental evictions and had several court claims filed against them by rental agencies for nonpayment.

“When [we] moved to Champaign I worked and [we] lived in a hotel and paid rent every two weeks,” Davis said. “To help make ends meet Yolanda reached out to local agencies for assistance.”

But the financial strain and other difficulties proved to be too much for the couple to handle so they decided to separate. However, they have maintained a close relationship.

“We still communicate well,” Davis said. “Anything that she needs … I’m right there. It’s like we’re still married but we realize, as grown ups, that we can’t live together. It’s in our best interests to remain friends … for our kids because no matter what, they still need us.”

Yolanda was again on her own with two kids to care for.

In 2007, she met a man who fathered her youngest child. The relationship quickly took a turn for the worse after the baby was born. Confronted with domestic violence, Yolanda sought help from a women’s shelter.

The Department of Child and Family Services got involved to make sure Yolanda’s children were all right, she said. As a result of DCFS caseworker referred her to the No Limits program, which encourages adults to develop a plan to improve their lives.

The turning point for Yolanda came when she met Rebecca Woodard, the No Limits program director. Woodard pushed Yolanda to verbalize her goals, she said.

Woodard “was like, ‘Yolanda, what do you want for yourself? I said, OK, this is what I want. I want to have my own business; I want my kids to be taken care of when I leave this world; not for them to rely on no one else. When I die it’s up to them to do the right thing. I want a  home where I can take care of the homeless people … I want to be in a [career] where I’m … helping someone else and for them to understand what I’ve been through… A lot of people can say [that they] understand but they really don’t because [they] haven’t fit in my shoes; they haven’t been through the things I’ve been through.”

By Will Atwater/For CU-Citizen Access

¨ Copyright 2011 CU-CitizenAccess.