Determined to succeed
The product of a broken home, Nicole dropped out of high school in ninth grade. She fell into a life of drugs and crime and was arrested numerous times. Her last stint in prison was made particularly trying by one very special circumstance: she was pregnant. Her son Andrew, it turned out, couldn't wait for his own freedom. He was born just a day before she was to be released.
The life she came home to, however, was hardly any better than the one she had while incarcerated. She struggled with her addiction and was the victim of domestic violence. After finally fleeing her abusive partner, Nicole and her son bounced between a few shelters before she decided that they needed something long-term and stable. "I was at rock bottom," she says. "I thought nothing would ever change."
That's when the two walked through the door at St. Vincent de Paul Village.
At first, Nicole was skeptical about her ability to make it at the Village. Little did she know, she had a resolve that would prove life-changing. Determined to achieve self-sufficiency, she took on every assignment that was given her. "I watched a lot of people, their behavior and negativity, refusing to do what was asked of them," says Nicole. "I did everything I could to make sure my life did not turn into that."
In the Career & Education Center she completed classes including Microsoft Office programs Word, Access, PowerPoint and Excel. She developed her workforce qualifications with Job Seeking Skills and Job Club. She improved her education scores in the subjects of reading, math and language, and ultimately got her GED. She completed parenting classes and was active in Children's Services. Because of her hard work and determination, Nicole was able to find a job as a residential advisor at Volunteers of America, as well as secure housing. She has been clean and sober for more than four years. A graduate of the Women's Leadership Institute, Nicole has now shared her stories with others at a multitude of speaking engagements.
"My life is so much better now," says Nicole. "Work is going great and my bills are paid." Nicole has benefitted from the many services at the Village, and as with all of our success stories, her accomplishments are ultimately due to her own will and determination.
"I wasn't expecting anything when I moved into St. Vinny's, except a place to stay," she says. "Wow, how I was wrong."
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