Linda Vista program helped family in need

Daughter, now 21, majors in film at WSU.

Aisha Ford, a junior majoring in film studies at Wright State University, has a life story to tell that she isn’t afraid to share.

She’s spoken out for Linda Vista, a program for women and children victimized by abuse that helped her family transition from homelessness, and may turn her story into a documentary.

Born in Cincinnati, Aisha was left with her siblings and father while still in grade school when her mother — who had custody of the children — moved to Dayton. “Our dad was abusive to Mom, so she left,” said Aisha.

Homeless, she went to the Dayton YWCA’s shelter for abused women. “She also had a drug problem, and the shelter made her deal with that and got her into a program.”

Counselors at the Y also introduced her mother to Linda Vista, which provides long-term housing and multifaceted services.

“Linda Vista has strict rules, and it took her a year to get clean, but when Mom got into their housing, I joined her with my brother and sister,” Aisha recalls. “I didn’t want to get excited, because I was afraid she’d get back on drugs and I didn’t want to go through that, but she’s stayed clean.”

Carmen Gooden, executive director and co-founder of Linda Vista, stays involved with the family. “Aisha was 13 when she first came here — she’s 21 now,” Gooden said. “I watched her graduate from high school and will be there when she graduates from college.”

Linda Vista put the family into one of its nine apartment units, and later helped them to move into a house, where they still live.

“I didn’t like the changes at first, but they’ve supported us, and now I love the program,” said Aisha, who was the keynote speaker at a luncheon for Linda Vista last month. “I wrote my first script — a Christmas play — at Linda Vista, and they had the children living there put it on for me. That’s what inspired me to be a producer.”

Aisha entered Patterson High School her freshman year, where she became an honor student in digital design studies, and stayed in the program when the school merged with the Career Academy into the new David H. Ponitz Career Technology Center.

“When I graduated, counselors from Ponitz and Linda Vista helped me get scholarships to enter the WSU film program, but I still had to audition my freshman and sophomore years.”

Aisha already has ideas for her senior project: “I plan to write a script on my life story and produce that or a documentary on Linda Vista,” she said.

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