Kristina’s Story: Dedication & Bravery
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On September 23rd, the day Kristina graduated from Women’s Empowerment, she handed her two daughters, Arianna and Evelynn, a small, wrapped present.
What they found inside had them crying with happiness and relief. “I had made each of them a key to our new apartment,” Kristina remembers, beaming. “And they were hot pink!”
When you invest in Women’s Empowerment, you’re investing in moments like this: real moments of hope and success for families who have been homeless.
Since May, Kristina and her daughters had been living and sleeping in her truck. Kristina had fled a domestic violence relationship—also leaving a ten-year career in sales, training and leadership.
“I had everything that a middle-class person could have wanted and I lost it all—my house, my job, my daughters’ school. My daughters and I served food at homeless shelters. We were the helpers; we’d never actually needed the help.”
Every night, Kristina searched for the safest place to park her truck so she and her daughters could sleep. She secured a part-time job at Nordstrom’s, drove her daughters to and from school (they did homework in the truck), cobbled together money for food and gas, and tried desperately to find a way out of the situation.
“It was absolutely the most shocking and humbling experience of my life,” Kristina remembers. “My daughters were so brave during this time.”
One day while trying to get to Loaves & Fishes, Kristina’s car broke down in front of Women’s Empowerment.
She was accepted into our program a week later.
Even though Kristina had a long career, the job-readiness class and skills re-invigorated her. “I couldn’t wait to come every morning and keep learning. Every volunteer, every staff member, is so compassionate and so positive. It truly is a safe place for homeless women to change their lives.”
During the day, Kristina attended our classes, met with her Employment Specialist, Social Worker and Career Mentor; completed homework assignments, cared for her daughters and still worked the night-shift at Nordstrom’s.
Kristina loved witnessing the positive changes her classmates were going through, week after week—as well as her own changes. “Your confidence is so low when you’re homeless. But at Women’s Empowerment, every single part of that program boosted my belief in myself. From the teachers to the volunteers—it all had a huge impact on me.”
Since graduating two months ago, Kristina is continuing to work hard at Nordstrom’s while looking for a full-time job.
“My daughters told me they love being at home,” Kristina says. They cook together in their apartment each night, something Kristina knows not to take for granted anymore. “And they’re very concerned about how to help homeless people. They always ask—what can we do? I want them to know it’s better to give than to receive.”
Kristina’s dedication to providing a brighter future for her children shines through in everything that she does. She is hopeful and excited about the opportunities she’ll have to bring her skills and talents to the workplace.
Eighty percent of our students secure a job or enroll in school, and ninety percent regain a safe place to live. Your gifts are truly working miracles—for families like Kristina’s, living in their car; and for countless other women and children in our community, sleeping in tents or homeless shelters.
Day, after day, they persevere to change their lives at Women’s Empowerment.
From everyone here at Women’s Empowerment—staff, students, graduates and children—thank you for another year of ending homelessness for good.