I had lost everything. I lost my house, my job, my car, my husband, and my sanity.
I never saw myself as a homeless single parent of three children. It was a numbing experience. I had only worked one job for ten years, and now I was no longer working there. I had to swallow my pride and move in with my mother, whom I hadn’t lived with since I was sixteen. I applied for unemployment, which ran out in six months flat, and I began looking for employment. I soon after applied for welfare and was sent to their job search program. Not having much skill to do anything besides retail and failing to find a job that could support my family, I knew I had to go back to school. I was referred to the CalWORKs program.
This program was put together like the League of Justice Heroes.
I had people that surrounded me with love, support, and just a little of that motherly guidance. They helped me with everything that I needed to get started at the Santa Rosa Junior College. I have counselors that truly care and want to see me succeed. They personalized all of my academic goals and worked around my schedule. I have a place to go when I need to study, do my homework, print something, or just take a breather from the world. If I am having a bad day, they are like my personal cheer-leading squad. I had a career counselor that helped me put together my resume and find a job that allowed me to still be a student.
I now work as a Front Desk Peer Adviser for the CalWORKs Program on campus. I work right alongside the heroes. I have flexible hours that allow me to be a part of the Black student Union. The Black Student Union allows me to be involved with campus life, which gives me a sense of belonging.
When I graduate from the SRJC I will have my AA in Nutrition and Dietetics. I plan to transfer to San Francisco State to obtain my Bachelors in Nutrition.
The day I signed up for welfare at SonomaWORKS, I was sad, frustrated, embarrassed, and feared being looked down on because I needed public assistance. However, my experience with CalWORKs, has been uplifting and revitalizing. I have been surrounded with all the support that I could possibly need to be successful and one day self-sufficient. I came thinking that this program would give me just a handout and instead they have given me hand up.