I used to live in the Nickelsville Tent City homeless camp at the bottom of the hill from where I now work. Each day as I come to work and leave for the day, I remember where I used to be and know that I never want to go back to my previous life.
Growing up without parental figures or mentors left a big void, as they could have taught me the life skills I needed for adulthood. Instead, I grew up with neglect and abuse in the foster care system and a belief that I deserved nothing more.
After I aged out of foster care, I chose with my limited knowledge, very bad situations and relationships. I struggled as a single mother raising my children, however, I did manage to accomplish graduating from college with an AA degree. But yet again, I got involved in another bad relationship that resulted in one more child and a mental breakdown. Turning to drugs seemed at the time a great coping mechanism, but it was the worst decision I could have made.
I distanced myself from my family and myself, and ended up in jail. There were several years that I was homeless. I was filled with so much anger, sadness, and hopelessness. I finally landed a place to call my home after several years of living in shelters, but again ended up in jail. But this time when I was released I had a strong desire to find the knowledge and skills to become the better person that I knew was inside of me. That’s when I heard about Pioneer’s Roadmap to Success training program.
Before I was accepted into the Roadmap to Success program I really lacked self-confidence. Talking to people was very difficult; I would stammer my words, my eyes would water, and my heart would pound out of my chest. After attending the training program, I could speak to others, feeling more and more relaxed, and able to connect. I developed hope in searching for work, and felt confident about going to job interviews. The counseling I started, and continue to this day, with Pioneer’s Seattle Counseling group also helped me adjust to life in recovery and taught me coping skills.
After I graduated, I searched for work and obtained several job interviews within the first month! I ended up taking the job that meant the most to me, working right here for Pioneer Human Services. I want to say thank you to all who have made this experience possible. My goal is to pay it forward to the clients Pioneer serves, help them break down the barriers, develop self-confidence, and know there is always hope in the future.