Every PS-S participant's success story is your success too because your belief in our mission helps make great things happen. Meet PS-S Graduates:
Melanie came to PS-S in September of 2009, hoping to fulfill her lifelong dreams of becoming a nurse. Each of her previous attempts to go back to school had been met with barriers, and she was currently questioning how she would afford daycare for her youngest daughter while she went to school.
PS-S was able to help Melanie with her childcare, education, and living expenses. In 2010 Melanie and her family moved into PS-S housing at Willow Place, which allowed her to focus on nursing school without having to work full time. Melanie’s advisor, Beth, and past Executive Director Mary Carraher provided her with emotional support and guidance throughout her process. Says Melanie “Their support has been a God send to me and I will forever be grateful for all they have done for me, for all PS-S has done for me. I would not be where I am today without the help of PS-S.”
Melanie graduated from University of Northern Colorado in August of 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in nursing. While continuing her job search, Melanie is working for Interim Healthcare as a float nurse, and enjoying the opportunity to experience many different areas of nursing that allow her to obtain skills she would not otherwise as a new graduate. She is continuing to train in order to make herself more marketable and loves working as a nurse. Her advice to other Participants - “Never let go of hope. One day you will see that it all has finally come together. What you have always wished for has finally come to be. You will look back and laugh at what has passed and you will ask yourself: how did I get through all of that?”
One of the most unique volunteers at Project Self-Sufficiency is April, a volunteer tutor in accounting and math. She was inspired to help after attending the annual Participant Recognition Event, hosted by PS-S to celebrate Participant accomplishments, and hearing how many struggled with math, economics, and accounting during their time in school. April now tutors Participants in accounting and math at both PS-S offices and at Willow Place. What sets April apart from our other tutors? She is also a Participant at Project Self-Sufficiency, just like those she tutors!
April and her son Kamron moved to Loveland about two years ago, after she had completed her Associate’s degree and was preparing for her first semester at Colorado State University. Through PS-S, she received assistance with schooling and childcare costs, as well as help connecting with other community resources. Although they knew no one in town when they moved, April has built a community for herself through clubs at school and her work as a volunteer.
A double major in Economics and Accounting, April aspires to become an analyst upon graduation from CSU. Says Beth, her advisor, “April is hardworking and brilliant. I love that she is a double major in Accounting and Economics! I am so inspired by April’s willingness to help other participants.” We continue to be touched by the generosity that allows us to make a difference in the lives of people like April, who then make a difference in the lives of others.
Jeanette came to PS-S in 2007 with a paralegal degree already under her belt, but after evaluating job prospects she decided that she needed to go back to school in order to find a job that would allow her to support her two children. Having completed her paralegal degree mostly online, Jeanette’s on campus days were nearly 15 years prior, making attending school at Front Range Community College difficult. Says Jeanette, “ a new lifestyle of attending on campus and juggling family responsibilities was no easy task. Each semester brought a new schedule and expectations all the while dealing with finances, various program expectations, family life and personal goals. I couldn't have been so graceful without the confidence of PS-S backing me.”
While enrolled in PS-S Jeanette took advantage of the parenting classes, self-esteem workshops, and celebrations that were offered. She received a donated vehicle known affectionately as the “luxury cruise liner” and enjoyed seeing her kids go back to school in style thanks to the Cool Kids program. Jeanette and her family also enjoyed the annual Christmas party, describing it as “nothing short of enchanting!”
Jeanette was able to graduate from Front Range Community College in May 2014 with an Associates of General Studies degree, accompanied by her achievement of a Life and Health Insurance License. Just two days after graduation she attended a hiring event and received 4 interviews and 3 job offers. Jeanette is now happily employed at Premier Insurance Partners as a marketer and is working towards purchasing her own home through the Fort Collins Housing Authority. Jeanette’s advisor, Maggie, comments that “Jeanette's outgoing personality, warmhearted nature and customer service skills will enhance the job she has working in the insurance industry. Her resourcefulness and self-confidence have greatly impacted her ability to move forward with her self-sufficiency goals.” Congratulations Jeanette, we wish you the best!
“PS-S was my saving grace at a time when I felt hopeless and lost.” This comment comes from Lori, a Project Self-Sufficiency program graduate. Lori had just become a single mom when she began the program. She was raising a young daughter on her own, with twins on the way, and wasn’t sure what the future would hold. Now, she’s earning a living wage in a career field she loves, and she and her three children are thriving.
Lori is now happily employed full-time at Cobalt Mortgage, working as a Licensed Mortgage Loan Origination Assistant. She says she wouldn’t be where she is today without the support of PS-S. During her time in the program, she was able to go back to school to take key courses in math and English that are vital for her role. She also received financial guidance from her Advisor, Beth Rosen, and perhaps most importantly, self-esteem classes.
“The self-esteem classes really helped me believe in myself. They were incredibly valuable, and I really feel they saved me at that point in time.” Armed with newfound confidence and goals, Lori was ultimately able to graduate from PS-S in 2012 to pursue full-time employment.
Lori says the support she received in PS-S is a key component to her success today. By receiving housing through the program and assistance with daycare costs, her children were able to grow and flourish in a safe, fun environment while she worked on her career and personal goals. Now, the happy family wants to share their gratitude with the people who made it all possible. “Anybody supporting PS-S is amazing. It truly does change lives, so thank you.” The staff of PS-S echo Lori’s sentiments: thank you to our supporters for helping empower our participants to build a brighter future!
Lynn, a highly-motivated student and dedicated parent of three, is nearing the finish line and all of us at PS-S are cheering her on! Having graduated from FRCC with her Associates degree in Nursing in May 2013, she is currently employed as a private night duty nurse through a home health care agency. Her goal is to find full-time work with benefits as a daytime nurse.
Her stamina and work ethic is amazing - Lynn worked nights as a CNA while completing her degree and secured full time employment as a Registered Nurse within three months of passing her NCLEX Exam. Lynn has been a tremendous role model to her daughter, who is now attending CSU, and was supportive and resourceful in finding scholarships for her daughter to make the dream of attending college a reality.
One of Lynn’s proudest moments was showing her current paystubs to the Department of Human Services and joyfully saying that she no longer needs to receive food stamps. Being free of economic assistance is one of the hallmark goals of PS-S, and Lynn has achieved that status!
PS-S and donors have supported Lynn by providing rent assistance, scholarship recommendations, giving her a donated car when her vehicle was no longer safe, computer repairs, back to school clothing for two growing boys, and holiday gifts under the tree. Most of all, however, Lynn deeply appreciates the support and guidance her PS-S Advisor shared with her. Best wishes, Lynn, as you sprint towards your final goal!
With a Bachelor’s Degree under her belt and a passion for helping others, recent PS-S graduate Donna is now changing lives through her work with Disabled Resource Services. This dedicated mother of four is now also a dedicated social worker, serving as the Colorado Choice Transitions Program Coordinator.
Her role is to help individuals who’ve been living in nursing or long-term care facilities transition back into independent living situations in the community. Many of the people she helps have been living in a facility setting for years, and navigating the complicated housing and rental market can be confusing and frustrating. This is where Donna comes in to help, putting her compassion and knowledge to work to ensure smooth, successful transitions into homes and apartments for these individuals.
This is the perfect fit for Donna. Her Advisor, Nicole, calls Donna a “warm, genuine, honest person.” These qualities make her an ideal fit for a position where she can give back to the community by impacting lives in a positive way.
When Donna first joined Project Self-Sufficiency in 2009, she knew she wanted to help others, but wasn’t sure exactly what direction to go. With the help of her PS-S Advisors Fran and Nicole, she determined that a Bachelor’s in Social Work was the right fit. After engaging in Project Self-Sufficiency’s career exploration process, she says the results “just screamed out that I should be a social worker!”
With the support of PS-S, she was able to secure vital scholarships to help fund her education at Colorado State University, and receive the training she needed to secure her new job. Donna began her time with Disabled Resource Services as a social work intern. She quickly became an expert in her role and a valuable member of the team, which ultimately led to the permanent, paid position that she has now!
In addition to help with her education and job training, Donna was also able to benefit from the PS-S Cars for Families program, childcare scholarships, and services for her children, such as the Cool Kids Back-to-School Fund. But beyond these resources, Donna says the most significant service that PS-S provided for her was support. “Fran and Nicole were there to hold my hand at times that were very emotional. If I had not had that support, I might have given up. They gave me the push that I needed.”
PS-S Advisor Nicole says that the ability to push through the tough times was one of Donna’s greatest strengths in the program. “Donna has incredible commitment and enthusiasm for the social work field. This allowed her to persist through challenges and achieve her dreams.”
Donna’s dreams certainly have come true. Donna is proud to report that she has reached her self-sufficiency goals with the help of PS-S. Donna says she now pays 100% of her living expenses, and no longer needs to utilize government assistance programs to meet her basic needs. We are so proud of Donna for accomplishing this wonderful goal!
PS-S is proud and pleased to announce that Katherine, after just graduating from UNC in August 2013 with her Bachelors in Nursing, is employed as a drug information nurse and earning a living wage with benefits! "Katherine treats all people with dignity and respect. These qualities were particularly apparent while she was working two internships in public health and showing her true stars as an advocate for all people," said Bethany, her PS-S Advisor.
In April 2009, Katherine and her then 8-year-old daughter were accepted to our program and steps were immediately taken to stabilize their housing. PS-S also provided emotional support during a challenging custody battle.
Being a resourceful, positive individual, Katherine pursued her dream of becoming a nurse and set to the task of making that happen. She received WISP, Rotary and PS-S scholarships and participated in PS-S workshops. Her daughter benefited from our children's services and holiday programs. Katherine was on-task with her job seeking goals, and used her internship in health literacy as well as her medical terminology and medical transcription skills to her best advantage.
"I want to thank everyone at PS-S, especially my advisors Beth and Bethany, who supported and encouraged me at every step along the way. I am so grateful for PS-S and all those who so generously give to the PS-S participants (and the participant's children) through their contributions of time and financial support. We could not have done it without you!" said Katherine.
Katherine's daughter, Kaitlyn, has this to share: "I'm so proud of my mom for as far as she's come and I'm very thankful to PS-S for helping my mom get to where she is and, in turn, helping me too. Because of where she is now we can have a better life."
As donors and friends of PS-S, we appreciate your continued belief that this program makes a tangible difference in our community and ask for your continued support in 2014.
When Deb came to Project Self-Sufficiency she was overcoming personal challenges and struggling financially. She had some construction related experience and had a dream of studying Construction Management at Colorado State University. Deb confirmed this career choice through an in depth career planning process with her PS-S advisor. This career choice was a match for both Deb’s career interest and her need to prepare for living wage employment.
Deb was already taking classes at Front Range Community College when she came to PS-S. She needed scholarships and other financial assistance to cover her academic and living expenses. PS-S was honored to award Deb several PS-S scholarships, arranged for her to receive Foothills Rotary scholarships, and also recommended her for other scholarships she received. These included a Talbot National Scholarship, the Women’s Independence Scholarship, and the Women in Construction Management Scholarship.
Deb’s old vehicle was unreliable, unsightly and unsafe, and her son was embarrassed to be dropped off at school. When Deb received a donated PS-S car, her son became proud and excited to go to school, asking Deb to place his “Honor Student” bumper sticker on the newer vehicle.
During her time with PS-S, Deb’s advisor also found help to meet her health care and housing needs. PS-S arranged for a physics tutor and Deb worked very hard to complete a number of difficult classes. She acquired an internship with CSU’s remodeling department and was very successful in that role. Deb has a particular knack for estimating and has studied green building.
In September Deb shared the great news that she was selected for a Project Manager position at Tharp Cabinets in Loveland. Deb is on the job and already has a project assignment to coordinate the installation of cabinets for 300 new homes. Company owner, Kayleen Fraley says that her hiring manager knew early in the interview that Deb was the right person for the job. We congratulate Deb on behalf of everyone at Project Self-Sufficiency. Thanks to all who support PS-S for making this success story possible.
When Tonya came to a Project Self-Sufficiency orientation in 2011 she was already enrolled in school but struggling with finances and about ready to throw in the towel. Fast forward to Oct. 2013 and you'll find Tonya proudly sporting her AA in Nursing and employed at Loveland Dialysis earning a self-sufficient wage and receiving full benefits for herself and her 7-year-old son, Eli. Way to go, Tonya!
Tonya's ability to stay in school was a direct result of working with her PS-S Advisor, Bethany, who helped her to obtain both WISP and WomenGive scholarships to offset the high cost of childcare for Eli. The tenacity shown by this graduate is tremendous. Tonya worked on her education over the course of ten years by taking one class at a time - often times via on-line courses she pursued at night while Eli was sleeping.
Equally impressive is her commitment to PS-S since Tonya never missed a meeting, which is extremely hard to do given the juggling act she was performing as a single parent. Tonya graduated in December 2012 with an AA in Nursing from Front Range Community College.
"Tonya is amazingly organized. She's ambitious, friendly and warm, intellectually geared toward the health care field, and a planner," said Bethany. Throughout the grueling coursework that nursing demands, Tonya made sure that Eli was supported in his sport-related interests and prioritized being the best mom possible for Eli. She also benefited from the support of her mother.
Tonya was the recipient of other PS-S services such as scholarships (including PEO), car repairs, resume and interviewing support, and holiday and children's services for Eli. "Even though Tonya used PS-S support to achieve success, she always drove the bus," remarked Bethany. Congratulations, Tonya, we are so proud of you!
A round of applause for Darlene who's now working as a Correctional Officer for Weld County Corrections and is completing a double major with a Bachelors in Human Resource Management and Finance. Talk about ambitious! This position provides full-time employment with benefits and opportunities for advancement --- a dream come true for Darlene's goal of achieving self-sufficiency.
When Darlene was accepted to Project Self-Sufficiency in Dec. 2010 she was on the verge of quitting school due to the impossible cost of child care for her two sons, then ages 2 and 4. Child care costs are generally the greatest barrier for single parents trying to attend classes and earn a degree. PS-S successfully nominated Darlene for child care scholarships through WomenGive and a PEO tuition scholarship so that she could continue to pursue her education. PS-S advisor, Stephanie, commented, "Darlene's ability to carry a load of 15-18 credits each term, often driving to multiple campuses in a week, while parenting two young boys is admirable. She clearly wins the award for completing an academic triathlon." Plus she wisely tested out of six classes which is a testament to her motivation and intelligence. The cherry on top of all this work was a human resources internship that a PS-S Board member was able to arrange.
Darlene shared this comment, "My success is in part with the support and confidence that I gained from PS-S and working with Stephanie. I have been blessed with the friendships, confidants and accountability partners. Believing in me and stressing the importance of building the foundation one brick at a time is how I can say I have reached self-sufficiency! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I pray to one day be able to return the favor."
Additional PS-S programs and services that Darlene and her children received include a donated car, PS-S scholarships, career planning, job search assistance and holiday support. Thanks to generous PS-S donors like you, Darlene and her children can enjoy a stable, self-sufficient life!
When Tanay left Project Self-Sufficiency she had a goal to finish her Bachelor’s degree and prepare for a career in the health field. PS-S advisor, Nicole, recently received this good news from Tanay:
“I graduated from Colorado State University this summer with my Bachelors of Science in Health and Exercise Science. I have accepted a job as a Core Tester with Vail Resorts running fitness assessments on their ski personnel and have already started in this position. I am excited to be done (with school) and thought I would share this news with PS-S.”
During her time with PS-S, Tanay developed skills and self-awareness that ultimately allowed her to reach her goals and be successful. She worked on removing barriers to achieving self-sufficiency and completed academic credits. PS-S is pleased to have played a supportive role in Tanay’s success and we wish her and her family continued success!
Michelle is proving to be a Project Self-Sufficiency academic superstar! She has just completed her sixth consecutive 4.0 semester at Front Range Community College and is transferring to Colorado State University in 2014. Her career goal is to obtain a Bachelor's degree in May 2016 and then work as a Medical Sociologist and we have no doubt that she will do just that!
As a mother of three children, ages 12, 18, and 20, Michelle enjoys a very close family dynamic and their support of her hard work and focus has contributed significantly to her success. In addition to her academic achievements, Michelle is president of the Holistic Health Club at FRCC and vice president of fund raising for Phi Theta Kappa. Prior to being accepted into PS-S she owned and operated a dog grooming business for 13 years.
"Project Self-Sufficiency has been exactly what I needed" said Michelle. "Though I did own a business before moving here, I had no formal education and was lacking many skills. As I struggled to support my family I knew that needed to change, but was never able to do so on my own. As soon as I began working with my advisor, Maggie, I felt a sense of relief that I could finally do it, that I could finally get an education. I had no idea how much support I would actually receive though, and how much of a difference it would make in every aspect of our lives. PS-S has made such a tremendous impact on my whole family. I am ever grateful and look forward to being able to give back to others so that they can feel the same kind of support!"
PS-S has provided supportive services to Michelle and her family including scholarships, holiday assistance, children's services, a car and a computer. In addition, she received a generous donation from a Loveland dentist who helped end her chronic dental pain. Her older children have also been treated by this dental provider who is a great PS-S supporter.
"Michelle has not only excelled but thrived as a student at Front Range Community College. Her ability to go above and beyond has contributed to her outstanding grade point average. Her enthusiasm and inquisitive nature is a great factor in her success," said her PS-S Advisor, Maggie.
As a PS-S supporter, we know you join us in wishing Michelle as much success at CSU in 2014 as she has enjoyed at FRCC...keep up the great work, Michelle!
Hats off to Tina Stevens! Tina graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Science Education from CSU in December 2011. Tina began her first teaching position in math and science in August, 2012. She taught in 7th and 8th grade classes at a local charter school. This fall she is moving to a Waldorf based charter school and is excited to continue her career in this new environment.
She worked diligently throughout her six years with PS-S to overcome obstacles and hardships in her life and, in the process, also received many scholarships, a donated car and other supportive services. She also held an internship at Stewart Environmental as a lab assistant as a result of the new PS-S internship program.
"Tina never lost sight of her goal to complete her educational goals and become a secondary science teacher," said her advisor, Maggie. We wish you the best in your new career, Tina!
When Tanya came to PS-S she was studying for the EMT exams and preparing for a career in emergency medicine. With guidance from her PS-S advisor she began volunteering with Poudre Valley Ambulance Service to gain experience. She also completed a Certificate in Phlebotomy at the suggestion of her advisor.
While working on these goals, Tanya continued her work as a home health aid to round out her experience and bring in earned income. Today Tanya is employed by The University of Colorado Health and excited about her work in the Emergency Room. Tanya has a goal to move into ambulance work and a longer term goal to launch a career as a paramedic. She is a recent graduate of the PS-S program.
After enrolling in PS-S Joann secured an internship at United Way and began taking classes at Front Range Community College. Her early job duties at United Way have varied greatly and Joann has made it a goal to learn as many job functions there as possible. She worked with donors to secure contributions needed by 211 volunteers during the High Park Fire disaster.
Later her assignments relocated her to the accounting department where she gained great hands on experience. When an Accounting Specialist position became available Joann was the perfect candidate. She is thrilled with her new job and well on her way to earning living wages. Joann continues classes at Front Range Community College with the goal of completing her Associates degree.
Amanda has achieved the first milestone in her goal to one day become a dentist - she is now a dental assistant! "You can achieve anything as long as you follow your dreams" is Amanda's mantra.
Her journey with Project Self-Sufficiency has been one of overcoming the personal struggles in her past and moving with determination toward her future. Her success can be credited to the fact that she is very organized, responsible, driven and is determined to create a strong family environment for her two-year-old son, Quinton. Amanda graduated with a 3.5 GPA from Front Range Community College in May 2013 with her Dental Assisting Certificate and has been working part-time at All About Braces. She also completed an internship there while simultaneously waitressing part-time to make ends meet. Amanda's dental assisting pay scale will increase substantially after she works in the field for one year and at that point she is expected to be self-sufficient.
PS-S Advisor, Michele says, "Amanda has been a pleasure to support because she is very talented and capable. I know she will succeed in her chosen career field because of these qualities." She has received financial and advisor support from PS-S.
A PS-S and CSU graduate, Wendy exudes gratitude for the support she has received and for her good fortune in obtaining a full-time job in her career field. She obtained a Bachelor of Social Work with a minor in Criminal Justice in May 2012 and recently landed a position as a Social Services Representative at a long-term care facility in Greeley. "Wendy's success can be credited to her steady determination and commitment to chip away at her personal and academic goals in order to achieve self- sufficiency for herself and her two children," her advisor Michele said.
When Wendy came to PS-S, she was originally looking for childcare resources, since this was her biggest obstacle to attending college. What she ended up with was more than she had dreamed of: a caring and dedicated advisor who helped her through the career advising process and several years of academic and personal guidance; childcare support so that she could reduce her work hours and focus on getting her degree; a powerful experience in the Self-Esteem Workshop that helped her realize her own self-worth; and the Boundless Children program which has allowed her son Kadan to participate in activities such as Boy Scouts, T-ball and karate and discover his own abilities and strengths.
"PS-S is my family," Wendy said. "If it wasn't for this program, I would still be years away from having my degree and working in a field that I love. I honestly don't take any of this for granted and feel it is a true blessing in my life." Back to top
When Rebecca came to Project Self-Sufficiency, she was working 40 hours a week and taking up to 15 credits a semester. To manage this work load, her eight-month-old daughter was in childcare up to 12 hours a day, a situation that was less than ideal.
With the help of her advisor and the support of PS-S, Rebecca was able to obtain numerous scholarships, which resulted in her focusing on her studies, boosting her academic performance and having more hands-on time parenting. She also received assistance in selling her car, which was a financial burden, and was a beneficiary of the Houska Car Giveaway, which allowed her to continue to get to and from class and daycare.
PS-S also arranged for an internship at a CSU lab to build Rebecca’s resume. After gaining some experience in the internship, Rebecca was referred to the owner of a private laboratory for a job interview. The owner of the lab is a strong supporter of PS-S and was very impressed by Rebecca. In July Rebecca started her new job as a microbiologist in the lab!
“What inspires me is people working hard to better themselves and their situations,” said Rebecca. All of us are inspired by Rebecca and her success as a recent CSU graduate who worked hard to earned a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology and is well on her way to becoming self-sufficient. Back to top
Nikki graduated from PS-S last spring after completing a Bachelor's Degree at CSU in Communications with a minor in Spanish. While enrolled in PS-S she did an internship with the Northern Colorado Business Report to gain marketing experience. After completing her education, Nikki began an extensive job search and secured a position as a Web Marketing Specialist for a distance learning company managing PPC (pay-per-click) advertising in the field of higher education. She loves her job and is so pleased with her career choice. Back to top
Caddie is a single parent who is eager to develop a career that will pay living wages and make it possible for her to support her two young sons on her own. Caddie worked closely with her PS-S advisor to find a career path that would capitalize on her aptitude for life sciences and her excellent retention and written communication skills.
Caddie completed her degree in Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Northern Colorado and then finished an internship at the Poudre Valley Health System lab. She has since been hired by the hospital as a Phlebotomist with a goal to move up to Laboratory Technician. Caddie is cross-training in the specimen processing center, as well as job-shadowing with the technicians. She has been accepted into the Medical Lab Tech program at Arapahoe Community College in the Fall which will make it possible for her to qualify as an Medical Laboratory Technician.
In support of Caddie’s excellent efforts to build her career, Project Self-Sufficiency has been pleased to offer a number of resources, including subsidized housing, a donated vehicle for travel to Greeley, and PS-S scholarships among others. Caddie has also secured many other resources on her own including several renewable scholarships, work study positions, and a positive support system.
“My PS-S advisor obviously cares about the people she works with,” exclaims Caddie. “She and all of the PS-S staff have been a great support during this very complicated time in my life, and I couldn't be more grateful!" Back to top
Sylvia recently earned her Associates degree and transfered to CSU to complete a Bachelors in business. Sylvia is enormously resourceful. Last semester, she worked with PS-S volunteer tutors on both math and accounting coursework. Last summer she took a five-credit-hour economics course. On her own initiative, Sylvia conducted an informational interview with a high level executive at a local manufacturing company where she has worked part-time in food services. A mother to a five-year-old daughter, she envisions helping run a business or even owning her own business someday. Sylvia had this to say about PS-S: “This is an opportunity of a lifetime, and I do not intend to take it for granted.” Back to top