Melissa, a U.S. Veteran and construction trade employee, has overcome domestic violence, homelessness and the temporary loss of her children. During one of her lowest points, she and her daughters were living in their car. Thankfully, she was able to open up to CTI’s Early Education and Care staff at the James Houlares Early Learning Center who linked Melissa to supports both within and outside of CTI including a Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing voucher and helped her find an apartment. Today, she and her daughters are still part of the CTI’s Early Education and Care program. “I would not have been able to do any of this without CTI,” says Melissa, who participates in the CTI Family Strengthening Project and Parenting Classes.
Common Ground was instrumental in renovating CTI’s Milly’s Place family shelter, providing a safe and supportive haven for numerous families including Jennifer and her three children. “My children and I were traumatized from domestic abuse. Milly’s Place and its staff transformed our lives,” says Jennifer, noting that staff quickly entered her family into trauma counseling and helped her be trained and certified in Mental Health. “Milly’s Place taught me how to understand abuse and take care of myself and my kids. The staff encouraged me to believe in myself and know I have a positive view of myself and my family’s future.”
Nichole T. received her license as an Aesthetician with the help of her Community Teamwork case manager and our Community Connections to Employment and training (CommCET) program. Nichole has been receiving HomeBASE Rental Assistance since October 2011. Prior to coming to Community Teamwork, Nichole and her daughter were living in a hotel. Since moving into her new apartment, Nichole has worked hard to get her Aesthetics license re-instated, and is now employed, earning a salary plus 25% commission on all of her sales, and looking forward to a brighter future for her family!
Jasmine Delgado, 20, first became homeless at age 9 when she spent five months at a shelter in Connecticut with her mother. In 2013, Jasmine moved in with her father when her mother left for Lowell. When her father told her he needed to find somewhere else to stay because he could no longer pay rent, Jasmine called her mother. Jasmine and her three year-old daughter, Jenadie, moved to Lowell last February to stay with her mother in a single room. This single mother had just returned to Massachusetts from Connecticut, determined to create a better life for herself and her daughter.
Jasmine managed to get her GED on August 3, 2017 and earned the Student of the Year Award upon graduation. She discovered Community Teamwork’s YouthBuild Program and soon became part of a new emerging Culinary Training program. Through this program, Jasmine has helped to grow Community Teamwork’s Farmers’ Market and has become a tremendous resource to the culinary instructor. Jasmine’s leadership and professional skills have grown tremendously. She has become an invaluable part of the culinary program. Jasmine helps to bridge the gap between the instructor and the students in the program. As our culinary intern, she has supported other students through tutoring, encouraging their participation, and as a role model for professional growth. She received her OSHA 10, NCCER, SERVSAFE and allergen training and
is now a part of the ACF (Accredited Culinary Federation) curriculum and will be receiving an accredited certificate for culinary. She is currently working as an intern with Two Chefs Catering and will be starting another internship with Cobblestones Restaurant in the near future. In addition, Jasmine was chosen the 2018 YouthBuild AmeriCorps Spirit of Service Member of the Year.
Though she has overcome many obstacles from a young age, Jasmine was afraid that she could once again find herself in a shelter. “I’m scared because they tell me I can be placed anywhere in Massachusetts,” she said. “That’s the thing that worries me because my daughter has been going to the same school for a year and I want her to stay at the same school and I don’t want to change things. I want her to have that stability.”
With the help of Community Teamwork, Jasmine was able to get her first apartment this past July and was thrilled to celebrate her daughter’s 4th birthday in their very own home! With first-hand knowledge of being homeless and living in a shelter, she took part in panels with other homeless youth during a Youth Homelessness Summit hosted by Community Teamwork this past June. The day-long event was part of CTI’s new concerted effort to tackle this issue.
Jasmine has had her daughter enrolled at the Parker Avenue site since June of 2017. While attending the program, Jasmine has
been able to receive transportation services through the school. Jasmine’s daughter was enrolled at the Parker Avenue site because of their transportation needs and where they were living at the time. When the family moved in to their own apartment in June, Jasmine was able to transfer her daughter to a new center while also keeping her transportation. This was very important to Jasmine as she has no other means of transportation. Now at the Houlares Center, Jasmine’s daughter is transported to and from school. With her daughter being at school every day, Jasmine is able to continue her work in both of her internships.
Jasmine exemplifies the ideals of hard work, perseverance, commitment and follow through. She has learned the personal benefit of these qualities and has adopted them into the very fabric of her life. Jasmine stands out as a leader and role model among her peers but it is her strength and her positive spirit that shine through.
Family Self Sufficiency Success Story
The Family Self- Sufficiency Program (FSS) is designed to help families receiving rental assistance to become self-supporting. This is a voluntary program and is open to all families receiving a housing subsidy such as Section 8. Community Teamwork’s Family Self-Sufficiency program has empowered many graduates to achieve their goals and Tonya is one such successful graduate.
Ana M graduated FSS in July 2018, and just purchased her first home in November 2019!
Ana works for Elder Services and completed her Bachelor’s Degree this year as well.
She bought a 2 family home in Methuen and will be renting the 2nd apartment soon.