Our Vendors 

Myrna Jefferson: A StreetWise scholar

Wed, Jan 2, 2013

StreetWise Vendor Myrna Jefferson is the perfect example of a vendor using the StreetWise model as a gateway to her next career move. After conquering her battle with addiction, Myrna not only cleaned up her act, she received her high school degree at the age of 40 and achieved a degree as a personal chef from Kendall Collage at the age of 43. Looking to 2014, Myrna is set to graduate from Harold Washington College with her Associate’s in business management. She currently vends her magazines at 111 W. Washington.

What is your ultimate career goal?
I would like to open up a recovery house/shelter. But that’s a long road coming.

Why that type of business?
Because it has helped me. I’ve had quite a few recovery homes I’ve lived in and, through the grace of God, I’ll hopefully have my own. I want to go to work and be able to save some money so I can try to get this business going.

Tell me about your background as a chef…
I’m a personal chef by trade. My specialty is soul food, the fattening food.

Do you have any tips for someone who is learning to cook?
Go in the kitchen and do it. If you have to burn an egg, burn an egg. Try again. Just don’t stop until you get it.

And that’s what I want out of my recovery house/shelter… for people to be able to get back on their feet [and learn some skills, like cooking].
Tell me about your family…

I have four daughters and five grandchildren. And I enjoy being able to be there for [my grandchildren], because I wasn’t there for my daughters. God made it possible for me to have another chance to help them and I try to do it to the best of my abiliities.

You’ve learned a lot through your lifetime… are there any particular lessons you’re trying to teach them?
To definitely stay in school… get your education. Try not to follow peers. Be your own, independent person. Be a helpful person, a giving person, instead of always taking. And watch your mouth.

Do you hope to pursue more education after you receive your Associate’s?
I’m thinking about going to a university. I want to go somewhere that I can afford and I want to go out of state, like other people do. I mean, I’m so anxious every time it’s time to go back to school after break. It’s so exciting getting your books and your bag and your sweatshirt with your school’s logo. It all excites me. And I told my sister last night… ‘There’s going to be a graduation in 2014, so be looking forward to it. The last graduation was over at Kendall and I cried like a baby. I was so joyful, because I never would have ever thought that I would cross a stage to graduate in my life. And there ain’t no stopping me now.

Myrna would like to thank her family, her writing tutor John, her business management tutor Matthew, StreetWise and, most importantly, God for helping her get this far.


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