Lyah Holmes, 32, is a nurse practitioner, instructor and a future world traveler. She volunteers at her parish St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Milwaukee, as a lector and extraordinary minister of the Eucharist. She also volunteers at the medical clinic at Repairers of the Breach. Her determination has helped her earn degrees from Cardinal Stritch University, MATC, and Marquette University.
“The biggest challenge for me is coming from an impoverished Milwaukee
neighborhood and being able to go to school and realize that education is important,” she said.
Today she focuses on giving back to her community through nursing and volunteering.
School and job/occupation:
Nurse at Milwaukee Health Services Inc., and an instructor at MATC Adult High School.
What is your dream job?
A dream job would be one that allows me to be, of course, financially stable, but I want to travel. Either traveling with the job or a job that allows me enough flexibility or vacation time for travel. I’d like to do something related to my field of studies, whether it’s teaching science courses or being a nurse practitioner.
What is on your iPod?
That’s a good question! I really like R&B. I like Stevie Wonder and Brian McKnight.
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would probably say Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. just because I want to pick his brain as to what he wanted to see decades from his time. Besides what we know from history books and speeches, I’d want to have an intimate conversation on what he wanted to see decades from his time in regards to unity and community.
Who has made the biggest impact on you?
I don’t want to make anyone upset for not acknowledging them, but the most pivotal time in my life had to be my fifth grade teacher Mrs. Barbara Ebersperger at Golda Meir Elementary. She was special, because she fostered an environment that everyone was equal. She supported the pursuit of further academic endeavors and she pushed us to do our best. And she also had a conversation with me at my graduation that “Things can’t always be perfect.”
That conversation stuck with me because my mom always talked about me being a perfectionist. I didn’t even like to eat fruit with bruises on them; she had to cut them off. So just knowing that there are going to be bumps in life and I just have to accept things in stride, and just take things as they come. I didn’t think about it like that back then, but I do now.
What is one thing that makes you unique?
I’m very determined. Once I have my mind set on something, either I’m going to do it or I’m going to get it some way, some how. I’ll get to that goal whatever it may be.
Describe a normal weekend?
I don’t know if I have a typical weekend; I’m always doing something. I’ll probably go to some sort of meeting, either for some organization or meeting up with friends. I’m really busy during the week so if I’m able to catch some extra sleep or pig out and watch TV, I’ll do that.
What’s your favorite Bible story, Scripture passage or prayer?
My favorite story in the Bible in the story is the Resurrection because it’s powerful and it reminds us that there is a journey. Jesus died for our sins but he rose again and that should remind us every day that we need to make sure we follow the teachings of the Bible, that we try to live with those words in our hearts and we should speak through our actions every day.
What is your favorite quote?
“A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.”- Malcolm X.
What is your favorite food or dessert?
My favorite food is jerk chicken. My dad is from Jamaica and my godparents, before they relocated to Jamaica attended St. Francis as well, and every holiday they would make it for me.
What is a challenge that you’ve over come in your life?
The biggest challenge for me is coming from an impoverished Milwaukee neighborhood and being able to go to school and realize that education is important. Even coming from that zip code 53212 in the ‘90s, when I first started in MPS, I was put into a special learning class. I guess stereotypically people that came from that area weren’t very bright, for lack of a better term. With the perseverance of my mom and my aunt saying, “How could you put her in this class if you’ve never tested her?” somehow they took me out of that class.
What is your favorite hobby or activity?
I love live music — whether it’s Jazz in the Park or going to see a live band at a local venue or restaurants. Whatever sounds interesting, I try to go.
What is the most important thing you want to accomplish in life?
The most important thing I want to accomplish is having a family. I’m not married, I don’t have any children. I would like to have a son first so he could be the big brother and at least one girl, but it doesn’t matter. Two kids, maybe four at the most. You have to have equal numbers for rides like at (Six Flags) Great America. You can’t have someone ride by themselves. So that would be next on my list.
How do you live your faith every day?
By trying to be compassionate toward others. There’s a certain level of burnout that everyone experiences in everyday life and for me just trying to have that compassion for others. And giving back to the community. I participate and volunteer in various organizations. I’m part of the Milwaukee chapter of the Black Nurses Association, the Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals, Cream City Wisconsin Links Inc., and I also try to volunteer at Repairers of the Breach, which has a medical clinic for the homeless. I also serve on the parish council and as a lector and extraordinary minister of the Eucharist.
Name one guilty pleasure?
It’s probably shopping. I have to go to the mall. I have to see it and I have to try it on. I’ve totally given up spending so much money as often.