Mary Steele introduces us to an Ambassador Councilmember, La’Quinia Chenault.
La’Quinia is the third on the right in the top row.
I’ve met a few professional football players during my time in Seattle. None of them have been as strong, as resilient, or as driven as former Seattle Majestics star, La’Quinia Chenault. When I met La’Quina at one of Compass’s Ambassador Council meetings last year, I knew instantly she was a force to be reckoned with.
La’Quinia is a founding member of the Ambassador Council. She is a businesswoman, a college graduate, an aspiring author, a mentor, a veteran, and someone who knows Compass Housing Alliance inside and out. She lived at Compass’s Renton Veterans Center.
She has a strong motivation for staying involved with Compass.
“I was homeless,” La’Quinia says. “It was random how it happened. The place I was living was a house on top with apartments below. It was apparently violating all types of codes and tenant rights. Suddenly, we had three days to vacate, and I had just paid my rent. I didn’t have anything to work with.”
She ended up living in her car for a month while trying to keep up with her schoolwork at the University of Washington. She did her homework in Starbucks and parked her car close to any water she could find.
“When you are homeless, it is hard to focus,” she said. “I would just watch the waves and kept telling myself, ‘This isn’t my end. This isn’t it.’”
After a month, La’Quinia was able to find housing with Compass at its Renton Veterans Center (RVC). RVC is dedicated to serving the unique needs of Veterans and their families. Dalwyn, La’Quinia’s case manager at RVC, was the perfect fit.
“Dalwyn was the best case manager anyone could ever have,” La Quinia said. “She helped me take advantage of the different programs and resources and community that they have built there at RVC. I was able to focus and get my stuff together.”
La’Quinia focused on her schoolwork and her fieldwork on the football field playing defensive back for the Seattle Majestics.
“When I went down to the practice field, I saw women and little girls watching other women play,” she said. “A father came up to us and asked if we could take a picture with his daughters. That’s when I realized I could be an inspiration.”
After making All-American, she graduated from UW and kept pursuing her goals.
“I went from living in my car to owning my house,” she said. “Compass is a chance to start your life over. When I was there it was a chance to save up money, get counseling, get my credit right, and finally use my VA loan to take a big life step. I’m a homeowner.”
Now as a business owner and homeowner, she wants to continue to give back to the community.
“Whatever I can do to help is what I want to do,” she said. “Compass changed my life. When my former case manager Dalwyn contacted me about the Ambassador Council, I read the mission statement and just said ‘Yeah, this is for me. This is all about compassion.’ There is a level of understanding and a nonjudgmental zone at Compass. I want to pass that along and inspire other people, especially women and girls. If Compass was able to get more resources, more funding, they could make such a bigger impact on this region. This is why I will support them in any way I can. More people need to know about the lives they change.”
When you give to Compass, you are helping to level the playing field for people like La’Quinia. With your help, Compass helps to clear the field of the obstacles, setbacks, and challenges that stand in the way of success.