Her future in her own hands

Note: This is the third in a series of four weekly stories highlighting the impact of Youth and Shelter Services of Marshall County as it celebrates 30 years.

Youth and Shelter Services of Marshall County provided the push Olyvia Davison needed to improve her life.

After coming back to Iowa from Mississippi with her two daughters, Davison’s living arrangements were less than ideal. She found herself in a roach-infested apartment struggling to get by.

YSS stepped in and helped her find a better apartment and then encouraged her to go to Marshalltown Community College. It was the second time in her life YSS helped her find a better living arrangement after having to move out of her parents’ home at the age of 17.

She graduated from MCC this past spring with a one-year medical assisting degree.

“It was amazing,” the 24-year-old said. “Chris Vaughn from YSS came to my graduation.”

Now, she said she feels she is on the right track and thanks YSS for helping her be more responsible.

“I can be a role model to my children, knowing we don’t have to struggle,” Davison said.

Vaughn, who is now retired from YSS, said all Davison needed was a little support and encouragement.

“I was so proud of her,” Vaughn said. “Then to find out that she graduated with honors, that blew me away that she was that committed.”

Vaughn said Davison is a very caring individual who always had her eyes on her goals.

“She never gave up and never fell into that role of ‘pity me,'” Vaughn said. “She’s going to go far.”

Davison won the Rose McCay parenting achievement award two years ago from YSS for overcoming obstacles in life. She is now a big advocate for YSS and its programs.

“I do a lot of public speaking for YSS,” she said. “Any time I know of somebody struggling I’m like, ‘you should call YSS.'”