Vanessa's Journey

Vanessa was diagnosed with childhood diabetes at age 11, leading to a complete kidney and pancreas transplant at age 39. She had a passion for food and culinary arts, but life situations and her health created roadblocks to pursuing her dream.

In 2016, Vanessa was referred to the Heartisans’ job training program from Buckner Children & Family Services.

After completing the Heartisans program, she accepted a position with Pine Tree ISD as a Child Nutrition Worker and began culinary studies at Kilgore College that Fall. Vanessa will be graduating with her two-year Culinary Management Certificate in May, 2018.

“Heartisans was and is great! Regardless of what I was dealing with they were always there. And if they couldn’t do something I needed, they found someone who could,” she said.

“We are so very proud of Vanessa and all she is accomplishing in her life; an inspiration to all of us as she excels in all she does through hard work and her faith in God,” stated Julee Rachels. On the road to accomplishing her dreams, Vanessa remains humble. “I am so thankful. Holding down a full-time job, being a full-time student and maintaining a family life with my husband and teenage children is hard work.”

Vanessa’s next dream is to own a food truck. We have no doubt she will continue to succeed in whatever she does! We celebrate Vanessa and what God is doing in her life!