Tresa’s feet hurt – and her shoes were literally starting to fall apart. Despite the physical and emotional exhaustion she felt, she knew she had to take another step forward. Her family depended on it. When her Chrysalis Employment Specialist provided her with a gift card to cover the cost of a new pair of shoes, she was surprised and grateful. “That support encouraged me to not give up.”

A Los Angeles County native, Tresa grew up surrounded by volatility and uncertainty. Determined to break the cycles of substance dependence and violence she witnessed growing up, Tresa made a commitment to build a solid future for herself and her family. “I made a promise to my kids that I would never put anyone or anything before them.”

But for a long time, she struggled to make ends meet. Despite having steady employment over the years, Tresa’s one-income household was getting harder and harder to support. Sometimes, when an unexpected expense came her way, she would find herself wondering how she was going to put food on the table. She thought, “Am I ever going to get a job that’s going to pay me enough to support myself? California is just a hard place to live right now.”

Eventually, an eviction notice forced Tresa and her two daughters to seek housing in motels and, later, in transitional housing. This was the last straw.

Tresa came to Chrysalis with a vision for her future and the determination to bring it to life. “I thought, there’s no excuse. I had to make my comeback.” She eagerly dove into our program and fondly reflects on the series of job-readiness classes she attended, specifically praising the facilitators for bringing the content to life and making the subject matter fun and engaging.

In addition, she worked with a volunteer to build her resume and mapped out a pathway to reaching her goals with her Employment Specialist. “I knew what I wanted, I just didn’t know how to get there.” After a few visits to our center, Tresa could feel the momentum growing. “It gave me that drive that I knew I had… it gave me the push to say to myself, ‘You know what? I got this.’”

Asking for help was hard for Tresa at first. But pushing past the initial fear and embarrassment that she felt led her to a new realization, “Getting support and having someone offer to help makes me feel really important. Chrysalis was very encouraging for me.” And in moments of doubt and frustration, Tresa’s Employment Specialist was there to remind her again and again, you got this. “She always seemed to call at the right moment.”

Throughout the job search, Tresa received transportation assistance to and from job interviews, a voucher for work boots, and assistance with securing her guard card. “I took advantage of literally every resource that came my way.”

After following up on an application she had submitted to be a Life Skills Coach with Easterseals, Tresa landed an interview and the job. And after diligently navigating her housing options, she and her two daughters were placed into her first two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment through a local rapid rehousing program. When she was told her level of income wouldn’t be enough to qualify her for the apartment, Tresa responded, “Give me one month, and I’ll have another job.”

She returned to Chrysalis and took advantage of scholarship assistance and trips to our resource room for professional attire. “I didn’t realize Chrysalis stayed with you forever. That additional support went a long way in that moment.” Not long after, she landed a security guard position with Allied Universal.

This November, Tresa celebrated one year of steady employment, and her resolve to continue making strides forward has not wavered. She shares, “It has been a struggle, but we’re going to get through this. My kids have seen a lot, but the bottom line is that they’ve never seen me give up.” And she admits that this holiday season is one of the first she is looking forward to. “Having a home for my kids, stability, and to not worry where our next meals is coming from…” she takes a breath and states with the upmost certainty, “I am done struggling.”