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Like mother, like daughter

When you first meet Rovella James and Rovenna Johnson, it’s easy to mistake them for sisters. In addition to the obvious physical traits they share, the pair both work at Neighborhood House, although in different programs.

But Rovella and her daughter, Rovenna, also just happened to have graduated from Highline College together in 2010, where each earned an Associate of Arts Degree in Human Services. They're also best friends.

Rovenna, a Housing Stability Manager, says that nearly four years into her job, she’s still learning about how to best lead her team.

“Of all the things I do, the most important is supporting my team,” she says. “We work daily with clients who are going through the most difficult time in their lives, and sometimes we have to be the bearer of bad news. It’s my duty to help keep my team encouraged and remind them why we do this work, and encourage them to see the little successes at times when it seems like progress is slow or non-existent.”

Rovella, meanwhile, has just celebrated her one-year anniversary working as a Youth Case Manager. She helps her clients, 16-24-year-olds, earn their GEDs or high school diplomas as well as find internships.

“I’m very passionate when it comes to our youth,” Rovella says. “Being a mother at such a young age was huge. So wearing my heart on my sleeve when it comes to my job isn’t always apparent, considering I also try to be a little tougher on our youth, in hopes the sternness will keep them focused and diligent.”

This mother-daughter duo admits to being BFFs, and their affection for each other clearly shines through.

Rovenna says, “I think at times we surprise ourselves when we realize we’re not just BFF’s but mother and daughter! I’ve been through many things, with my mother’s support, that I had to grow and learn from. At times it feels like I’ve lived a couple of lifetimes already, but I’m passionate, and really care for this work and the people I work with.”

“I have my own best friend,” Rovella says. “She my daughter and that always comes first and she is the one person I know loves me no matter what, unconditionally.”