SAMM Success Story: Giving Back What She’s Been Given

Guest Blogger:Taylor Martin
Media Manager, SAMMinistries

Juanita Vasquez was referred to SAMMinistries for housing assistance in November 2011 from the Salvation Army. At the time of her referral she was suffering from arthritis, thyroid disease, and fibromyalgia, and functioning at the fifth grade level in both reading and math. Despite setbacks, Juanita worked with SAMM case managers to set goals for herself.

To help Juanita reach self-sufficiency, she was enrolled in SAMMinistries’ On-the-Job Training (OJT) program. Through work at SAMM’s donation station, Juanita learned valuable skills that can translate across many work environments. Although hesitant to work at first, she quickly became one of the most dependable OJT workers and enjoyed her work tremendously.

However, at the completion of her training, Juanita was still struggling to find a fulfilling and sustaining job. She loves to work with people, but felt that she needed more skills and knowledge to achieve her goal of self-sufficiency. DSC08988

With the help of SAMM, Juanita enrolled in courses to become a Certified Nurse Aide, as well as high school equivalency classes. Her path to employment was not easy, and Juanita struggled with the confidence to complete her difficult classes. However, after months of hard work, Juanita received her GED, and completed the Certified Nurse Aide classes. “I completed my goals because of my son, I really want to motivate him,” said Juanita.

Juanita’s outlook on life has never been brighter. Because she was able to fulfill her aspirations, she is now encouraging her son to set and accomplish his education goals as well. “I’ve done something with my life, and my son sees that,” she said.

However, Juanita is not just a SAMM success story; she is now also a volunteer.

“SAMM gave me the help that I needed, and I wanted to give something back. If it wasn’t for SAMM I would be on the street with my son. I needed to do something to return the favor.”

Juanita volunteers at the Donation Station as often as she can, and hopes to continue to volunteer in other areas throughout the ministry. She hopes that her story motivates other people to move forward with their lives despite hardships.

This article orginally appeared on SAMMinistries Success Stories.

SAMMinistries became an MHM funded partner in 2008.