Lindsey’s Story: Never Give Up
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At Women’s Empowerment, we know a job is more than a paycheck. A job provides you with dignity and a sense of pride. Having a job means you have a place in our community. It means respect.
No one understands this more than Lindsey, who graduated from Women’s Empowerment in early 2011. In the blink of an eye, Lindsey went from working full-time with the school district, married and raising her daughter—to living in a tent along the river.
Lindsey hit a patch of really bad luck. While going through a stressful divorce during which she lost her home, Lindsey witnessed an act of heinous violence at her workplace. Traumatized, this experience worsened her untreated depression, leaving her unable to work or provide for herself and her daughter.
“I just short-circuited,” Lindsey says as she remembers this dark time. “All of the homeless shelters were full, which is how I found myself at the river with all of my things. I remember just standing there and
But even during this horrific time, Lindsey’s tenacious spirit wouldn’t let her give up. She continued to be a good mom to her daughter, Rose, and even graduated from a training program in medical billing.
“I took such meticulous care of my appearance that none of my classmates even knew I was homeless.”
When she was accepted into Women’s Empowerment, her whole life changed.
At Women’s Empowerment, Lindsey took our class on enrolling in community college—and was given the support to do so.
With the same determination she demonstrated while homeless, Lindsey completed the welding program at American River College before beginning an apprenticeship to become a Heavy Equipment Operator. You know those folks who drive giant bulldozers? That’s Lindsey!
The day after I spoke with Lindsey she officially “journeyed out,” meaning she’s completed her apprenticeship and is now a professional Operator. Typical apprenticeships for these programs last five years. Lindsey finished hers in just four.
“While I was homeless, I felt like I was nothing. I didn’t even feel like a human being. But at Women’s Empowerment I learned that wasn’t true. I learned there was a community that believed in me.”
Lindsey is now working full-time and has her own apartment. “Now people look at me with respect,” she says.
This is what the power of a job can do—and what your investment in Women’s Empowerment accomplishes. Without your gifts, talented, hard-working homeless women would never be able to get a job. They would never be able to rejoin our community, and regain respect.
Four years ago, Lindsey was a homeless woman living outside. Today, she’s not only a working member of our community, but she’s building the roads, bridges and train tracks that keep our community moving forward.
Lindsey is supporting her daughter and helping to put her through college. “Rose remembers when I was homeless and how hard that was. But she also remembers that I never, ever gave up,” Lindsey says.
To donate to Women’s Empowerment support women like Lindsey, click here.