At age 24, Briana Cabral found herself jobless and living with her parents. As the single mother of two young daughters, she needed to enroll in TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) to support her family. At a meeting with her case manager, Briana discussed her career options. She had experience working in retail, but knew the schedule of a retail job would not accommodate her childcare needs and the wages would not be sufficient. She wanted to build her skills, but college was not an option. So Briana’s case manager referred her to Mi Casa Resource Center.
Briana enrolled in Mi Casa’s Customer Service Career Training Program in January 2015, where she improved her resume and practiced interview skills. “I learned a lot at Mi Casa,” says Briana, “but the most important thing was the confidence I gained.” Briana admits that at times she got discouraged when some of her classmates got jobs before her, but the staff continued to encourage her. “Mi Casa gave me the ability to believe in myself.”
“Mi Casa’s staff always encouraged me to apply for the jobs I really wanted,” says Briana. “I wasn’t going to settle for just anything – I wanted something I could build a career in.” Briana found such a job at Community Shares, a local nonprofit organization. She started as an Administrative Assistant and was promoted to Information Systems Coordinator after one year. “I’ve found something I really love to do. I love being able to say that I’m a part of the change in our community. I was someone who needed the services of government assistance and nonprofit organizations, and now through my work at Community Shares I can help others in a similar situation.”
After getting the job at Community Shares, Briana no longer needed the services provided by TANF. “I wanted to get off government assistance and become financially stable, but it was definitely a challenge.” She and her daughters stayed in shelters for six weeks to save the money needed for the deposit and first month rent for an apartment. And the first few months without food stamps were difficult, but Briana says Mi Casa was always there for her. “They helped me set up a budget and gave me gift cards for food and gas to help make ends meet while I got settled in my new job and apartment. I was so thankful to have someone to turn to.”
Briana has now been in her own apartment for almost three years and was able to purchase her own car. She says the stability of her job and apartment has been great for her daughters. “I like that they can see their mom getting up and going to a job she loves every day. I want them to know they can do it too.”