Every Project Self-Sufficiency Participant's success story is your success too because your belief in our mission helps make great things happen. Meet some Project Self-Sufficiency Participants with stories worth celebrating:
Austin perseveres. She proved this after her long journey to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work this past May despite many ups and downs along the way. Austin first joined Project Self-Sufficiency after she decided to become sober in 2010. At the time, she didn’t know her career path, but knew that she wanted to help people and provide a better life for her then two-year-old son, Zayden. While in our program, she received an Associate’s Degree from Front Range Community College. Although she made progress on her education, her life had become very busy, she started missing meetings with her Advisor, and so she exited the program.
After some time off, she recommitted to her educational plan and applied for our program again in 2014 to get through the home stretch of obtaining a Bachelor's Degree. This time she did not want to quit after coming so far. Her Advisor, Kelly Robenhagen, states “Austin showed great commitment and awareness about what was required for her to be successful on a second go-around with Project Self-Sufficiency, and has exceeded all expectations since then. She always attends meetings on time and is prepared to discuss relevant updates. She was also very serious about the job search process.”
Austin states “In the beginning of the program, during the career exploration assignment, I found that my desires were validated, which just made me feel that much more confident in my decision to focus on social work.” Austin received many program supports including Project Self-Sufficiency and Osher education scholarships, WomenGive, Cool Kids and Boundless Children’s Funds for Zayden to have child care, new clothes for school and join the Loveland Swim Club.
After graduating from CSU this spring, Austin landed a job at Harmony Foundation in Estes Park – an entry-level position as Admissions Specialist, which provided an essential step on her career ladder. This position lead to her most recent job offer as a Mental Health/Addictions Case Manager Position with SummitStone Health Partners. Austin’s ideal career would be in case management or clinical therapy, both of which require an advanced degree. This, however, doesn’t faze Austin. “A Master's Degree is in the plan; I want to return to CSU next summer and start the work on that.”
What Austin loved best about her position with Harmony Foundation is that she was the first voice that people heard when they were at their most vulnerable. In addition, the day she met them is the day that they had decided that they needed to get treatment for addiction, which she knows from personal experience, is a huge step.
Kelly voiced her pride in having Austin as a colleague in the field of social work. “She is empathetic, genuine, straightforward in her communication, and able to think critically about people’s situations and how best to serve them. She is already adding immense value to the Northern Colorado community through her work to assist in the recovery process for people living with addiction.”
Austin has made great strides along the path to self-sufficiency. She is no longer on SNAP (food stamps), is up-to-date with all of her bills and will start to pay back her student loans. Best of all “I have business cards with my name, position and degree, which feels very permanent to me”, says Austin. “I feel that I am a very productive member of society and am finally able to give back.” Congratulations Austin on your successes!
“Thoughtful, planner and prepared” are the words used to describe Traci by her Advisor, Joni Antonia. Joni shares, “Traci has been a pleasure to work with and is a prime example of “success.” Before enrolling in Project Self-Sufficiency, Traci was shy, timid and quite comfortable in her role as a daycare teacher. She never imagined that one day she would be a corporate manager addressing difficult situations with employees, or partaking in community outreach and speaking opportunities. “Project SelfSufficiency has raised my confidence far beyond what I could have ever imagined.” Traci graduated in May 2016 from Colorado State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration with concentrations in Human Resource Management and Organizational & Innovation Management. More than six months prior to graduation, she was hired as an Executive Team Leader at Target, where she now manages the day to day operations of the sales floor. In the near future, she will be managing the front end of the store as well. This esteemed position was the result of Traci’s diligent job searching that she completed with her Advisor.
Before enrolling in Project Self-Sufficiency, Traci was shy, timid and quite comfortable in her role as a daycare teacher. She never imagined that one day she would be a corporate manager addressing difficult situations with employees, or partaking in community outreach and speaking opportunities. “Project SelfSufficiency has raised my confidence far beyond what I could have ever imagined.” Traci graduated in May 2016 from Colorado State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration with concentrations in Human Resource Management and Organizational & Innovation Management. More than six months prior to graduation, she was hired as an Executive Team Leader at Target, where she now manages the day to day operations of the sales floor. In the near future, she will be managing the front end of the store as well. This esteemed position was the result of Traci’s diligent job searching that she completed with her Advisor.
Traci graduated in May 2016 from Colorado State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration with concentrations in Human Resource Management and Organizational & Innovation Management. More than six months prior to graduation, she was hired as an Executive Team Leader at Target, where she now manages the day to day operations of the sales floor. In the near future, she will be managing the front end of the store as well. This esteemed position was the result of Traci’s diligent job searching that she completed with her Advisor.
“Traci is an amazing individual. She was already well on her way when she enrolled in Project Self-Sufficiency but took advantage of the opportunity to better define her career goals,” shares Stephanie Slayton, Program Director. “Over the years, Traci’s confidence in her abilities as a leader grew exponentially. She excelled in school and received many academic scholarships. Traci maintained employment throughout her education and this helped her fine tune the skills she needed to land a great job six months before she even completed her degree! Project Self-Sufficiency also challenged Traci to develop public speaking skills while enrolled in our program.” She has spoken on behalf of Project Self-Sufficiency and is often showcased as a United Way Community Impact Speaker.
While focusing on her studies, Traci took advantage of Project Self-Sufficiency volunteer tutors for math and finance. She was supported with educational scholarships from Project Self-Sufficiency and childcare scholarships from WomenGive. Kaylee, Traci’s daughter, started first grade this year and was able to go back-to-school clothes shopping with gift cards provided by our “Cool Kids” Fund. Kaylee has a great fashion sense and was delighted to pick out her own back-to-school outfits. The new school year brings with it the chance for Traci to volunteer in Kaylee’s classroom which is the highlight of the week for both of them.
Traci now enjoys full benefits through her employer, including a matching 401(k) plan and she is no longer receiving any public assistance. Traci shares, “Without the support of Project Self-Sufficiency, I would still be working in childcare where there was no room for growth. My degree has opened the door to many different career paths that I can take. My ability for growth is now endless.” Traci is even in the process of purchasing her first home! When asked what she would like our readers to know about her, she said “I am so thankful for the help and support that Kaylee and I received that got us to where we are today! I am proud of how far I have come over the past 5 years. It was such a blessing to always have someone in my corner, cheering me on.” We wish Traci success in her new career.
The first thing you notice about Traci is what a strong relationship she has with her three delightful children. Her Project Self-Sufficiency Advisor, Kelly Robenhagen states, “It was clear to me from day one that she was an absolutely devoted mother to her wonderful daughters and that this devotion was a major driving factor propelling her towards self-sufficiency.” After being a stay-at-home mom for eight years and going through a divorce, Traci could not find a job with the income to support her family. The overwhelming need to provide for her daughters brought her to Project Self-Sufficiency in December 2013. At that time, all she knew was that she wanted a career where she could work in an office and that she loved numbers, “Yeah, I am one of those people - a numbers person,” Traci states.
After being a stay-at-home mom for eight years and going through a divorce, Traci could not find a job with the income to support her family. The overwhelming need to provide for her daughters brought her to Project Self-Sufficiency in December 2013. At that time, all she knew was that she wanted a career where she could work in an office and that she loved numbers, “Yeah, I am one of those people - a numbers person,” Traci states.
One of the program goals at Project Self-Sufficiency is to ensure that a Participant is well-prepared for their chosen career path through the career exploration phase. The career that met her target income level, skills and interests was accounting. So began Traci’s self-sufficiency journey.
Through discussions with her Advisor Kelly and her Front Range Community College Advisor, Traci chose to attain a two-year Certificate in Accounting, which she accomplished this past May. Prior to graduating with her certificate, Traci was hired as Office Manager at Mosquito Authority, providing a dual benefit of utilizing her accounting skills and allowing her to work from home. The owner of Mosquito Authority has told Traci that she is a blessing to the company with the skills she brings to the position. This is a seasonal position, but Traci has already been guaranteed the same position next summer. Her Advisor is continuing to support Traci and together they are looking for internships during the off-season.
While in our program, Traci’s three daughters have been enrolled in dance, a benefit of the Boundless Children’s Fund and her oldest daughter recently performed at a Project Self-Sufficiency donor appreciation event. Traci also mentions Project Self-Sufficiency’s Holiday Program and how grateful she is for the opportunity to provide for her daughters during Christmas.
While support from family, friends, and community impacts the success of all of our Participants, Traci tells us, “The best part about Project Self-Sufficiency is the support from my Advisor. She just seemed to know what we needed.” An example was a time when Traci’s car needed tires and a battery, which her Advisor obtained through the Transportation Fund. Traci states “without these expensive car repairs, I would not have been able to continue school”.
Traci will officially graduate from Project Self-Sufficiency in April 2017. Her future goals include moving out-of-state and maintain her position with Mosquito Authority through telecommuting.
What motivates Traci? “Doing what is right by my kids - I did this for them.” Traci’s girls are aware of her commitment to them when she shares a picture of her mortarboard, decorated with the words “Thank You Mommy”. Thank you, Traci and best of luck in your accounting career.
Amy beams with pride as she talks about her children. Her daughter has just received a Citizenship Award in her school and has been hand-picked by her teacher. Her daughter is interested in animation and wants to change the world. Amy’s son has goals of being a receiver for the NFL and flexes his brain muscle through chess strategies. Amy’s face is full of smiles and laughs while sharing her children’s achievements.
Amy started her journey with Project Self-Sufficiency in October of 2012. She had been referred through a partner agency, Crossroads Safehouse. At that time she was working three jobs, one of which was at night. She had close friends who would watch her children for her while she was working. Since enrolling in the program, Amy has transformed and eagerly thinks about future plans and her career path. Amy is in the social work program at Colorado State University and will receive her Bachelor Degree in the spring of 2017. After graduating, she plans to immediately pursue her Master’s Degree, which is an 11-month program. She has the determination and mindset of a successful individual. Her favorite class is Gender and Society and she has a vision of advocating for domestic violence victims and changing laws. Amy shared: “I am teaching my own children to advocate for themselves and that they should stand up for what they believe in and to NOT GIVE UP, no matter what.”
Amy has been an active Participant working hard towards her career goals and securing needed resources to remove barriers. She received a donated vehicle, childcare scholarships through WomenGive, and also educational scholarships through AAC, EOC, First Generation, Phi Theta Kappa, Women’s Independence Scholarship Program and Project Self-Sufficiency. Amy is very patient, which she demonstrated after receiving a donated 2000 Buick through our Cars for Families program. After many attempts to maintain the vehicle and keep it running, she realized she needed a more reliable car. She re-applied to receive another car, waited patiently, and finally was awarded a Honda Civic (that is still running!) Amy worked with one of our volunteer tutors to help her pass an Algebra class, a key class in her degree program.
Amy’s Advisor, Maggie, is full of enthusiasm as she relates the transformation that has taken place in Amy. “Amy has truly blossomed and is setting a wonderful example to her children that determination and hard work can help you break through even the most difficult of circumstances. She is a shining star who is ready to make her own special contribution to her community.”
Even in Amy’s busy life, she finds the time to give back to her community. She is currently a Court Volunteer Advocate seven hours a week and also assists with equine therapy for veterans.
When asked her favorite quote, Amy rolled up her sleeve. There, on her arm, were the words: “There are no mistakes in life, there are just experiences we encounter that leave us stronger and more fulfilled in the end.” This is the motto that she lives by and by which demonstrates her strength. Best wishes Amy, as you surge toward your goals!
Sylvia enrolled in PS-S in 2006. At the time, she was working on her GED and had a toddler that she was caring for on her own. Sylvia faced significant barriers to her education and employment goals, including a learning disability and other previous barriers. Sylvia drove an unsafe vehicle from substandard housing to a low wage job five days a week, often working overtime just to cover her living expenses. She took GED courses at night and rarely had time with her daughter. Through career exploration with a PS-S Advisor, Sylvia discovered she had strong math abilities and was interested in the field of business. When she completed her GED, she enrolled in Aims Community College and continued to attend night classes while working full time. Sylvia struggled significantly in her coursework, so PS-S referred her for disability testing. Sylvia was able to receive accommodations the rest of her time in college and earned above average grades throughout her education.
During her third year of school, Sylvia’s apartment was flooded and she was dislocated. PS-S was able to offer Sylvia housing at Willow Place apartments. This proved to be one of the most significant changes in Sylvia’s life. She had safe, affordable housing and was able to reduce her work hours to focus more on school. After applying for the Resident Manager position at Willow Place Sylvia was finally hired on as a Loveland Housing Authority employee. She transitioned to Colorado State University and attended school full time while working part time. She applied for a work study position at the Transfer Student Center on campus to build her career related skills.
Sylvia was fortunate to secure scholarships and child care assistance through PS-S, local service clubs, and WomenGive that helped her provide for her daughter while she completed her degree. PS-S also helped Sylvia out with a donated vehicle and computer to improve her accessibility to education. Sylvia completed her Bachelors Degree in Business with concentrations in Supply Chain Management and Human Resources in May 2014. She took a temporary position with OtterBox while job searching for employment in her career field. PS-S helped Sylvia build a resume, develop cover letters, create a LinkedIn account, and network with employers in our community. When a permanent position opened with the Loveland Housing Authority, Sylvia was a top candidate. She had the right mix of experience and education, as well as the networking and personal advocacy skills to land the job. Sylvia is now employed at a self-sufficient wage and is giving back to her community by helping other vulnerable families secure and maintain affordable housing. These include the PS-S families who live at Willow Place. And the best part for us is the Loveland Housing Authority and PS-S share an office building, so we get to see her often!
While living on her own with her young son and participating in the Teen Parent Program at Fort Collins High School, Jackie heard about Project Self-Sufficiency through a friend whose mother was enrolled in the program when she was a child. Jackie was able to graduate from high school and continued her education in the form of dental assisting courses, dental hygiene pre-requisites and dental hygiene school.
Jackie graduated from Front Range Community College’s Dental Assisting Program and worked in the field for 5 years. She truly enjoyed it, but felt a longing to return to school in order to enhance her skills and earn a self-sufficient wage as a dental hygienist. After enrolling in Project Self-Sufficiency in 2013, Jackie was able to complete the application process for the dental hygiene program in Cheyenne, Wyoming. In November 2013 she was accepted into the Laramie County Community College (LCCC) Dental Hygiene program. LCCC has one of the only dental hygiene programs in Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming and their 16 month rigorous and competitive program is not for the fainthearted! Her PS-S Advisor, Maggie, shared that “Jackie’s courage and motivation helped her weather many challenging situations. Throughout the program, Jackie maintained a strong determination to reach her goal of becoming a dental hygienist.”
Jackie completed the Dental Hygiene program in April 2015 and in July 2015 received word that she passed her state and national Boards to become a certified dental hygienist. Employers were waiting for her to obtain her license and within days she was hired at two different dental offices in Northern Colorado. Jackie is now earning a self-sufficient wage and is working toward her next goal of becoming a homeowner.
Jackie says that “Project Self-Sufficiency has provided the resources, the support and the encouragement to make my career dreams come true.” Her son Jayden, now 11, has seen the hard work behind all of Jackie’s accomplishments. “My son puts just as much effort into his school work as I did. I'd like to think that watching me go through college had something to do with that.” Jackie, we’re so glad to see you succeeding in a field that you love!
Suzanne came to Project Self-Sufficiency in the midst of a divorce after hearing about the program from a friend, and was accepted into the program the same month her divorce was finalized. She had 15+ years of experience in accounting, but had experienced 4 major layoffs in the field. Project Self-Sufficiency provided the opportunity for Suzanne to explore new careers and finish the Bachelor’s Degree she had begun in 1988. With the help of her Advisor she created a plan to re-enroll at University of Northern Colorado (UNC) for a degree in Elementary Teaching.
The comprehensive support that PS-S offered truly set it apart for Suzanne. She was able to receive help when applying for housing as well as rent assistance thanks to the Housing Fund. Her Advisor suggested scholarships to help pay for classes and answered questions about Medicaid. When car problems came up Project Self-Sufficiency was able to provide assistance through the Transportation Fund to keep her on the road and on track in her classes. In Suzanne’s words, “Project Self-Sufficiency is an amazing support system, where you can get help emotionally and financially.”
Not only was Project Self-Sufficiency able to support Suzanne in her dreams of becoming a teacher, it also had an impact on her daughter, Sydney. The Boundless Children’s Fund allows Sydney to continue in the dance lessons that she loves, the Cool Kids Fund provides the opportunity to go back to school shopping, and the Holiday Fund helps Suzanne make the holidays special. With the help of her Advisor Suzanne qualified for the WomenGive scholarship, which allows Sydney to go to summer and after school camp. Suzanne says that “Most of all Project Self-Sufficiency has had an impact on my daughter by teaching her you can follow your dreams. Sydney has become the number one supporter of me becoming a teacher. She is so proud of me, and it melts my heart.”
Suzanne graduated from Front Range Community College in December of 2014 with her Associate’s Degree, walked for graduation at UNC in May 2015 and will receive her Bachelor’s Degree after finishing her summer classes. Says Suzanne “Project Self-Sufficiency has helped me figure out who I am and who I want to be. Project Self-Sufficiency has helped me become independent for the first time in my life. They have taught me to be a proud single parent and not feel the shame of divorce. I have learned to become assertive and strong. Looking back, I don’t think I would have ever dreamed of having an opportunity to go back to school and change careers. I know that teaching is my passion, and I feel privileged to become an elementary school teacher.” Congratulations on these amazing accomplishments, Suzanne, we can’t wait to see what you do next!
Donovan came to Project Self-Sufficiency through a partner agency, who suggested he go back to school. Though at first the idea seemed a little far-fetched, after further consideration he realized how much sense it made. His long-term goals included buying a house and paying for his daughter’s education, things he knew he couldn’t do with the income from his current position.
Donovan received custody of his daughter, Paige, when she was just one and a half years old. Now eleven and nearing her teenage years, Donovan recognized that getting his education would also be important to Paige, not only from a financial standpoint, but to demonstrate how important education truly is. He knew that he could tell her that education was important, but that demonstrating that fact would be much more impactful.
Donavan is currently studying Computer Information Systems at Front Range Community College, with plans to transfer to Colorado State University. He also works as a cab driver on the weekends, entering his 14th year with Yellow Cab. With a challenging major, Donavan is thankful that Project Self-Sufficiency is able to help him financially if he needs a weekend off work to study, and allows him to not worry about how bills will get paid. Donovan is looking forward to achieving his goals, setting an example for his daughter and seeing a successful result from his time with Project Self-Sufficiency.
Melanie came to Project Self-Sufficiency 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.
Project Self-Sufficiency was able to help Melanie with her childcare, education, and living expenses. In 2010 Melanie and her family moved into Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency has done for me. I would not be where I am today without the help of Project Self-Sufficiency.”
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 Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency, 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 Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency backing me.”
While enrolled in Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Fund. 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!
“Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency. 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 Project Self-Sufficiency in 2012 to pursue full-time employment.
Lori says the support she received in Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency is amazing. It truly does change lives, so thank you.” The staff of Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency 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!
Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency, 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 Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency 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.”
Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency. 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!
Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency 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. Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency scholarships and participated in Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency, especially my Advisors Beth and Bethany, who supported and encouraged me at every step along the way. I am so grateful for Project Self-Sufficiency and all those who so generously give to the Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency, 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 Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency. She needed scholarships and other financial assistance to cover her academic and living expenses. Project Self-Sufficiency was honored to award Deb several 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 Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency, Deb’s Advisor also found help to meet her health care and housing needs. Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency 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. Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency Board member was able to arrange.
Darlene shared this comment, "My success is in part with the support and confidence that I gained from Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency programs and services that Darlene and her children received include a donated car, Project Self-Sufficiency scholarships, career planning, job search assistance and holiday support. Thanks to generous Project Self-Sufficiency 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. Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency.”
During her time with Project Self-Sufficiency, 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. Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency 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!"
Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency Advisor, Maggie.
As a Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency she was studying for the EMT exams and preparing for a career in emergency medicine. With guidance from her Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency program.
After enrolling in Project Self-Sufficiency 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.
Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency.
A Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency, 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.
"Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency, 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.
Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency 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 Project Self-Sufficiency last spring after completing a Bachelor's Degree at CSU in Communications with a minor in Spanish. While enrolled in Project Self-Sufficiency 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