After 27 years, memories can be a little fuzzy—especially when some of the events happened before you were even born. For Olivia, her involvement with Aunt Martha’s in Park Forest, IL started when her mother, Frances Quintanilla, was a teen mom who sought out the program for resources and support for herself and her soon-to-be-born daughter. Frances continued to take parenting classes and even connected with a home visitor who began coming to her house when Olivia was 1 year old. Her mother also enrolled her in Aunt Martha’s Head Start Program at 4 years old.
At an early age, Olivia displayed an avid interest in music. She started learning the violin in 2nd grade at a charter art and humanities school in Milwaukee. Her passion for music continued throughout her elementary and high school years. In 6th grade, she switched to the cello and was a member of the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra for five years. She later went to Lawrence University in Appleton, WI and graduated with a bachelors in cello performance.
Though Olivia was the driver of her musical ambition, Frances was always supportive of her daughter’s learning and growing as a musician and believed in her. Without her mother’s support, Olivia may not have pursued music as a career.
Fast forward to today and 27-year-old Olivia is now a working musician, business owner and instructor in Minneapolis. She is excited that every day she is fully able to pursue music as her profession and use what she learned in school in her own performances. She also has the opportunity to share passion in her teaching work as she gives violin, cello and viola lessons to all ages. One of her current goals is to focus on music with her band, Useful Jenkins, while travelling and promoting her music. She has even started to think of a concept for her first solo album.
As an adult, Olivia is able to reflect on the impact the program had on her mother’s life:
“I know that from how my mom talked about the program, it really did support her and made her feel happy and proud to be a mom,” she said. “Even if the circumstance aren’t ideal, you can still take on motherhood and actually be happy and feel prepared about it – and not feel guilty about it.”