Eckerd Connects Surprises Resilient Young Mother Who Overcame Odds to Build a Successful Life

Luisa Whipple, Manager of Communications and Board Relations

P: 727-304-8982

On Friday, May 8, at 9:30 a.m., Eckerd Connects is surprising Teaira and her two children with a 2016 Ford as well as car insurance for a full year. 

Eckerd Connects, a national leader in workforce development, juvenile justice, and child welfare services, is celebrating the accomplishments of a young lady that fought to overcome an unspeakable personal tragedy to prove her resilience and dedication to herself and her family.

When Teaira Reed was just 19 years old, her mother suffered a gunshot wound to the head. Though she initially survived, she would soon succumb to her injuries, leaving Teaira alone with the responsibility to care for her two younger sisters and her 2-year-old son. Forced to become their primary caretaker and still struggling to cope with the loss of her mother, Teaira made a commitment to herself: She would show her family that despite her circumstances, she was unstoppable.

Teaira decided to focus on her career and enrolled in a Youth Build program at IRSC where she earned several certifications (OSHA 10, CPR/First Aid, and NCCER). Along the way, she learned that the construction industry was not her path, so she decided to earn her CNS license after graduation.

Now 23 years old, Teaira is working full time as a Medicine Technician for an assisted living facility. She has been able to find an apartment, secure childcare assistance, and pay for counseling for her family. Building a career she is proud of and earning enough to financially provide, she has proven that she is indeed unstoppable.

At an Eckerd Connects Board Meeting where Teaira shared her story, she mentioned that her vehicle had broken down. Moved by all the challenges she’d overcome so far, the Eckerd Connects Board stepped up to raise money in order to surprise her.

“She’s made a huge impact on us,” said Eckerd Connects Board Chair Ray Ferrara. “We can’t wait to see the things she will accomplish with her life.”