TJ observed as an individual working on the Venice Beach Boardwalk collected trash and maintained the area. He felt a sense of pride seeing this. With an over 100-year family history in the Venice community – and in between jobs at the time – TJ wanted to know how he could secure a similar position, so he approached the person and asked who they worked for. The Chrysalis Works employee referred him to Chrysalis’ Santa Monica center.

While he arrived expecting something similar to the employment resource centers he had experienced in the past, he shares that he found so much more. He reflects, “It was the way that Chrysalis treated me…they made me feel like I was a part of a program as opposed to having a service rendered to me.”

TJ met with his Employment Specialist and detailed his work history. “It was very sporadic. I hadn’t had long-term employment for many years.” He let them know, too, that he was in search of a job he could enjoy and take pride in.

One of the first positions TJ secured was a transitional job with the Chrysalis Venice Beach BID. Thinking back to his connection to the Venice community, he shares, “[That job] was personal. I ended up working for the exact crew that referred me to Chrysalis!”

While working with Chrysalis Works, TJ continued his search for employment. He accessed generously-donated Lyft credits to get to and from appointments and built his confidence while participating in our job-readiness program. He also recalls being pushed by his Employment Specialist to confront one of his main obstacles to the workforce: searching for jobs online. “Prior to Chrysalis, I didn’t know how to do that,” he shares.

After setting up an online profile with the guidance of his Employment Specialist, TJ secured a position with UPS for the 2019 holiday season. But knowing that the opportunity would likely end in January of 2020, he remained steadfast in his job search. Not long after, he secured a maintenance position with Bow West Capital – a job that he explains has been a tremendous help to him and his family.

When faced with the pandemic in March, TJ began to question his job security, “I was afraid every day because I didn’t know if I was going to be able to keep my job. But the company that I work for – we are essential.”

Despite this temporary peace of mind, TJ found himself in a difficult situation once again when his truck broke down and needed costly repairs. Thankfully, he was connected to the Greg and Jodi Perlman Change Reaction fund at Chrysalis, and the maintenance for his vehicle – his main mode of transportation to and from work – was covered. In a note to the donors, TJ writes, “Your donation has allowed me to remain gainfully employed and to take care of my family and community during this difficult time. For that, I will forever be grateful. I promise to pay it forward.”

TJ shares that he is grateful that Chrysalis has not only been there for him but for his wife as well throughout her job search. For their family, steady employment means so much more than earning a paycheck – it’s about taking steps together on their pathway to self-sufficiency. “Chrysalis has helped my whole household. Having a job helps with my confidence level and makes me feel reliable and like someone who can be depended upon right now while things are so rough. I feel like a leader.”