It’s game day. Maria spots a Dodger blue sports car in the line of vehicles she is processing for parking. As they pull up, she compliments their ride and the driver, beaming, heads into the lot at Chavez Ravine.

As an SP+ cashier and ambassador at Dodger Stadium, Maria cherishes the opportunity to greet fans with a smile and facilitate an efficient parking experience for game goers. The interactions – although brief – lift her spirits and those of the patrons she serves.

During the height of the pandemic, Maria exited retirement due to the rising cost of living in Los Angeles. Despite years of work history in administration and massage therapy, she worried about her ability to secure employment due to previous challenges with her mental and physical health.

“My rent was only going to continue to go up. I’m disabled…who’s going to hire me?”

Over a decade ago, Maria was struck from behind by a cyclist while walking to the beach where she lived in Hawaii. In that moment, she bounced back up, said a few choice words to the individual, and continued on her way. But after returning to LA, long-term effects finally surfaced from the head injury that she had sustained, and they affected how she was showing up for herself, her family, and at work.

“I ended up homeless for a little while. Fortunately, my children never stopped caring about me.”

With the support of her children, Maria was connected to affordable housing options and mental health resources that helped her find stability and heal.

Determined to cover the rising cost of her rent and other bills, she exited retirement and turned to Chrysalis for help securing work.

“Chrysalis has been a life changer for me. They gave me the support that I needed to get a job and keep a job.”

At Chrysalis, Maria completed our job-readiness program within a month. She updated her resume with the support of her Employment Specialist, accessed professional attire from our resource room, was referred to a disaster relief position supporting unhoused individuals during the pandemic in 2020, and was later connected to an administrative role at a massage therapy company.

When the company closed that location, Maria kept going. While attending a job fair at the recommendation of her Chrysalis Employment Specialist, Maria engaged with SP+ and was hired on the spot.

“No matter how hard it gets, don’t give up. I’m amazed at the new Maria, I really am!”

Today, Maria expresses immense gratitude for her children, Chrysalis, and others for their support throughout her journey. She celebrates being in good health, having steady income and stable housing, and encourages others to never give up – no matter how hard it may get. “I’ve put down roots in the community. I feel really good about where I live. I love my job!”