Meet Lisa, a graduate of Session 63!
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Lisa had been battling homelessness since the death of her grandmother two years ago. Her loved one’s death left her without a permanent home. She moved from place to place, sleeping on friend’s couches. Some nights, Lisa would sleep in her car. “I tried to park outside of a friends’ house,”Lisa explained, “It made me feel safer, but most nights I didn’t get much sleep.”
In the past, Lisa had worked as a hairdresser and hopes to pursue a career in cosmetology. “I want to own my own business where I can provide hairstyling to folks with disabilities who may not be able to come to a salon.”
Lisa chose to come to Women’s Empowerment after seeing the positive effects the program had on both her Aunt Cheryl and cousin Maya. “Not only were they able to build confidence in themselves but were able to maintain it. I wanted this for myself— and now thanks to Women’s Empowerment I am a better woman. I feel that I can do whatever I set out to.”
Lisa is only one of the 27 women who completed Session 63 of Women’s Empowerment eight-week job readiness program on June 29th.
The recent graduation ceremony was a heartfelt time for these women to share their transformations. As each woman received her certificate of completion, she shared her journey from homelessness, often the darkest time in her life, into a confident, successful, career-driven woman.
Some individuals expressed themselves through poetry and song and captivated the one hundred plus community members in attendance.
“I was happy and really excited about graduating,” Lisa explained, “I surprised myself and ended up getting pretty emotional. Not out of sadness, but rather happiness, honoring the hardships I’ve been through. I originally wrote a speech but chose to speak from the heart instead.”
Many graduates shared sentiments of gratitude and appreciation. Thankful for the support of their friends and family, thankful for their Women’s Empowerment mentors, career counselors, and social workers but most importantly thankful for their sisters who have shown love, compassion and encouragement towards one another when obstacles arose.
Lisa and her fellow peers in Session 63 have added to the grand total of 1,349 women who are now official graduates of Women’s Empowerment.