May is mental health awareness month! Join us in celebrating one client who is helping to #EndTheStigma by connecting our community members to vital basic needs resources.
Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Laura came to Chrysalis ready to take the next step in her career. She brought with her 15 years of combined experience in mental health services, management, customer service, caregiving, and more.
Her goal was to transition from contracted work to permanent employment. The challenge? Consolidating her professional background onto one sheet of paper and navigating job applications as a primarily Spanish-speaking individual. “Cuando me dijeron, ‘Escribe todo lo que sabes hacer para tu resumen,’ me acuerdo que lo coloqué en hojas y hojas y hojas… Tenía la experiencia. Tenía la esperanza del trabajo, pero no estaba preparada con toda la documentación adecuada.” [“When they told me, ‘Write down all of your previous experience for your resume,’ I remember that I had pages and pages and pages… I had the experience and the desire to work, but I wasn’t prepared to put together the proper paperwork.”]*
Laura worked closely with her Employment Specialist and Chrysalis staff to boil everything down, draft cover letters, apply for jobs online, and prepare for interviews in English. Access to this ongoing individualized support was key to her ability to move forward.
Today, Laura celebrates being permanently employed as a community worker with the Department of Mental Health. After completing our job-readiness program, she continued to stay in touch with her Employment Specialist virtually and even maintains contact today. “Cada vez ha sido menos, pero aun así todavía, cuando yo modifico algo por mi cuenta, se lo mando a ella.” [“It has been less and less frequent, but even so, if I update something [on my resume], I send it to her.”]
Every day on the job looks different for Laura, and she takes each one in stride. Ultimately, she is focused on one thing: “Ayudar a la gente que tiene una situación difícil en el momento.” [“Helping people who are in a difficult situation.”]
As a community health worker, Laura provides education around and connects her clients to a myriad of basic needs resources: including those related to housing and food insecurity, domestic violence, depression, addiction, transportation needs, and more. “Mi trabajo es que los servicios los encuentren a los clientes en vez de que los clientes tengan que buscar a los servicios.” [“My job is to ensure that our clients are met with the services they need, as opposed to our clients having to seek out those services.”]
While she affirms that her job is fulfilling and helps her make ends meet day to day, she also shares that she is doing something more: Building a dignified life for herself and her two daughters. She smiles and proudly shares, “Son independientes, son mujeres fuertes y muy resilientes.” [“They are independent, and they are strong, very resilient women.”]
Laura reminds us that securing and maintaining employment is about so much more than a paycheck. It is about turning your dream into reality and not comparing your journey to someone else’s. “No me he rendido. Siempre busco mi sueño. Primero lo tengo como un sueño y después lo tengo como una meta. No importa el idioma, el estatus social… es mantenerte en la línea – eso te va a llevar al éxito.” [I haven’t given up. I always go after my dreams. First, it’s a dream, and then it’s a goal. The language you speak, your social status, they don’t matter. It’s about remaining steadfast – that is what’s going to help you succeed.”]
We celebrate Laura’s drive and are honored to be a part of her journey as she continues to grow, thrive, and create lasting ripples of change in her community!
*Our initial conversation with Laura was in Spanish.
Ongoing career development support that Laura received from Chrysalis:
- Navigating her job search as a primarily Spanish speaker
- Online job application assistance
- Drafting and updating cover letters
- Interview practice
- Transportation assistance
Thank you to our supporters for ensuring that Chrysalis is available to help clients like Laura find, secure, and retain employment!