Jerrisa White, Outstanding Tenant of the Year

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Jerrisa White, Outstanding Tenant of the Year image


Senior Case Manager Mariah Mallory, a longtime staffer at Access: Supports for Livings says, “When I think about how much supportive housing can help people, I think of Jerrisa.” No wonder: since moving into her apartment at Temple Hill Apartments six years ago, Jerrisa has completed a Medical Certification program, has earned her driver’s license, and has secured a good paying job as a medical assistant. Oh, and did we mention that she also gave birth to twin boys five years ago and another boy a year ago?

But it took some time to get there. Jerrisa had had a tough and traumatic childhood that made it difficult for her to trust, so when she came to Access directly from foster care with no supports, she was naturally wary of staff and their offers to connect her to programs that could help her. For the first year, she stayed mainly to herself.

But after the birth of her twins -- struggling to work, keep the boys in daycare and maintain her apartment --  she began to connect to one of the staff and started to participate in community activities.  With support, she enrolled the twins in Early Intervention having become concerned about their language development. When these services – delivered virtually during the pandemic – proved unhelpful, staff helped her navigate the educational system and get them into a special-needs pre-k program where they have made great strides.

Because Jerrisa had had little help working through the ‘dark days’ of childhood trauma, staff connected her to a gifted young therapist, with whom she bonded.

In January 2022, Jerrisa gave birth to her third son, whom she says ‘completed our little family.’ But his birth inspired her to look for a job that not only paid well but provided room for advancement. So she looked into the Acces’s VR program. There she learned how to drive and is now saving up for a car. Not long after completing the Medical Certification program successfully, she landed a job as a fulltime medical assistant with great benefits.

Beyond her amazing accomplishments, Jerrisa is described as a great neighbor, friend, community member and inspiration to others.

Says Mariah, “Whether it’s making coffee for some of our older tenants during community breakfast, or donating candy or toys when we celebrate another child’s birthday during Friday night BINGO, Jerrisa is empathetic and compassionate. It’s an honor to witness her growth and success.”

For her determination, grace and fierce dedication to herself and her family, we are delighted to honor Jerrisa White as one of our Tenants of the Year.

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