Inspiring Women


As a little girl, Tamiko often wondered what it would be like to live in the houses she would see as she rode the bus to and from school. When she was 17, she joined the United States Army. However Tamiko's past haunted her and she made some bad choices, therefore at the expiration of her term of service, Tamiko returned to Aliquippa. She says “the most beautiful thing about my military service was that I served my country well and had a beautiful baby girl.” At the age of 33, Tamiko decided she wanted to show her daughter, Arnay, that there was more to life than living in poverty and drug infested neighborhoods. She enrolled in college to achieve a Bachelor’s Degree but half way through she was diagnosed with renal failure. While doctors tried to determine the cause, Tamiko felt like giving up but she worked past her fears and setbacks, proudly receiving her degree and began to take the next steps on her self-sufficiency journey. Last year was a transition year for Tamiko and her daughter. They had outgrown their apartment both physically and mentally. In the summer of 2012 Tamiko’s prayers were answered and she was able to move into a house with the assistance of the Bartko Foundation. Tamiko and Arnay have truly appreciated living in a house of their own and have been working hard to keep it and move towards purchasing it. Tamiko has obtained a better job at the Veteran’s Administration and has recently applied to the Master’s program at two universities. Arnay also went to work to help maintain their home and participated in the W.E.B. Dubois black college tour in March. Tamiko says that “the help we received from the Bartko Foundation made us feel that anything is possible and that dreams do come true.” She opens her home to a variety of groups including young women who are hurting and need to be encouraged to know that dreams can be achieved by hard work, that setbacks don’t last forever. Tamiko wants people to know that no matter what type of background you come from or what labels society places on you, you can overcome them.

“Jannie exemplifies the mission of the Bartko Foundation in that beyond Jannie’s primary goal of being the best mother possible to Natalie; Jannie is highly motivated to be successful in all areas of her life.”

– Jannie’s Sponsoring Agency


Jannie’s primary goal is being the best mother possible to her daughter Natalie but she is also highly motivated to be successful in all areas of her life. She has made positive progress in her self-sufficiency journey after receiving a grant from the Bartko Foundation to purchase a vehicle. Before this purchase, Jannie would borrow her mother’s vehicle on occasion and the vehicle had no heat. She was always concerned about the vehicle becoming disabled with her daughter in the vehicle. Jannie also owns a small hair salon in Turtle Creek and because she now owns a vehicle, she is able to work more hours per week and therefore her income is beginning to increase. Additionally, Jannie’s self-esteem has increased because she is no longer dependent on someone to provide transportation for her or Natalie. Jannie has been through numerous ups and downs and continues to pursue a better life for herself and for Natalie when others might just want to give up. Currently, Jannie is trying to purchase the building that houses her salon as the current owner would like to sell the property.