Participant, Young Mothers’ Program, Chelsea
When Zulma sits at her desk at the Department for Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM), working on the scanning project she was hired to do, it is a powerful reality that she has come a long way. For the last six months Zulma has held this same steady job which has allowed her to support herself and her two children. She has grown professionally, and socially as she learns to speak up more and enjoy her time with her co-workers. This is not the life that Zulma was living before.
Zulma came to Roca 2 years ago to gain independence from her overbearing partner. She wanted a life where she was able to make her own money and choose how to take care of her children. She did not have her GED, she was in a challenging, sometimes violent relationship. This was a drain on her energy and she struggled to maintain a job. Eventually, she became connected with her youth worker Patricia and Roca. At first, Zulma had a difficult time showing up for the program. She felt intimidated at what she was being asked to accomplish and felt like she couldn’t do anything.
Over time, Zulma got to know staff and really bonded with Patricia. “I learned to look for the people who can help me” Zulma says, “now I know everyone, I know who to talk to if I need help”. She began to trust that these people could help her to succeed. She attended GED classes, participated in Roca programming, and shared with Patricia what was going on in her life. With the work done with Roca, Zulma made the decision to leave her troubled relationship. She decided that she could not put her children through an experience of watching her fighting with her partner. She wanted to care for her kids and herself and was empowered to do so.
Zulma learned to work at Roca. Prior to coming to the program, she usually only stayed at a job for a month or two. In being free of her relationship and armed with the skills she learned at Roca, Zulma landed the job with DCAAM, one of many job placement partnerships Roca has established. She has kept this job for 6 months, working diligently and growing in confidence in the process.
Beyond her immediate success at Roca, Zulma now has plans for the future. The project at DCAMM will come to a close and Zulma will need to look for something different, but she is ready. She is interested in working in a job where she interacts with other people and helps in an office. She is looking forward to completing her GED and ultimately attending college to become a nurse working with special needs children. Since coming to Roca Zulma has truly changed her life. We know that our young mothers can and will succeed, Zulma is a perfect example, we just have to give them the tools to do it.
“I learned to look for the people who can help me. Now I know everyone, I know who to talk to if I need help”