Last week, while helping to set up a new class at Casa Teresa’s Alumni Resource Center (ARC), I had a chance encounter with former Casa Teresa resident, Crystal. That day, she came to the ARC to work on her resume and cover letter, she was applying for a job at Chapman University the next day. While there, Crystal candidly shared her Casa Teresa story with me.
Crystal entered Casa Teresa’s Emergency Maternity Shelter Program in August of 2013. She was so grateful to be there. Crystal came in with an open heart and mind ready to take on every opportunity that was available to her. Even with her positive outlook she was discouraged at times. But she also told me that “in the end was worth it. It was the best place to be.” She completed her stay at EMS and successfully transitioned into Casa Teresa’s Parenting program.
While she told me her story there was one sentiment that stood out, her words of encouragement. By embracing the support, workshops and substance abuse programs that were offered from Casa Teresa she was able to turn those challenges into successes. She even rebuilt back her relationships with her family. “Now after everything, I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel”, she tells this to any of the current residents she sees struggling with the program. As Crystal had similar experiences, she wants to make sure the moms know that it will get better.
Crystal was fortunate to be eligible for the Orange County Public Defender (OCPD) New Leaf program. They helped to get her record expunged, allowing her to get the fresh start she needed. Crystal currently attends Cypress College where she is working towards her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and Sociology. Her ultimate goal is to work with addicts and teenagers with behavioral issues. She is also a straight “A” student! Crystal says she owes a lot of her success to her hard work and to the classes and support she received at EMS. The staff helped her to build on her foundation for success. Did I mention that she got the job at Chapman University too? Crystal, we are so proud of you!