Individual Success Story
“The thing with us, as women, it’s so easy to feel we can’t do enough, that we don’t have confidence, we don’t have support. But when you take classes at Fresh Start, they actually change your mentality, the way you feel emotionally, and how you impact yourself and others,”
“How did I get myself into this situation?”
Diana* looked around at the couch she and her youngest son had been sleeping on for the past two weeks. The only clothes she could carry were stashed nearby after being thrown out of her home by an abusive ex. She recalled how she had arrived at this point, what she was enduring, and what she could do to get out of her unbearable situation.
As a struggling single mom of two kids, including a special needs child with high functioning autism, Diana felt emotionally and financially broken. Balancing the responsibility of sole parenting, she found it hard to navigate the services her youngest son needed. She had nowhere to go and no one trustworthy she could turn to.
“When you are in that type of despair, you feel like everything is just breaking down and you have nobody to turn to,” she remembered. “At that time, I decided I was going to turn to the only person I knew would help, my ex, the father of my youngest.”
Despite moving in with him for a period of time, Diana was still in trouble. Her ex was abusive and only allowed her presence in the home if she obeyed his stipulations.
“As you know, molded as women, we’ll do anything for our children,” Diana said. “Those stipulations weren’t something that I wanted to endure, but I felt I had no choice.”
After several months of putting up with his requirements, she reached a point where she refused to comply any longer and was thrown out onto the street with her youngest son.
“I had nowhere to go. I only took four days’ worth of clothes and I was able to find a couch to sleep on for two weeks and I was really feeling sorry for myself. How did I get myself into this position?”
She let herself have a good cry and knew she would not continue this cycle anymore. She was determined to find assistance. Luckily, she was able to get a place to live from a friend, but hard times continued for Diana.
“Three months after that, my oldest son was diagnosed with cancer. A week after my son was diagnosed with cancer, my dad passed away. So, you want to hear rock bottom? That was my rock bottom. It had nothing to do with drugs or alcohol. It had to do with how everything around me was going,” she said.
Against all the odds stacked against her, Diana stayed strong.
“I have to move forward,” she told herself.
Right when she needed it most, she found Fresh Start.
“Fresh Start had so many programs,” Diana recalled. “One, when you start out, is available to help you try to start your own business.”
Diana completed Fresh Start’s Personal Development Workshop and she earned her real estate license certification online so she could earn extra money. She already had a job working for Banner Health, and through attending workshops via Fresh Start’s Career program, she was able to secure a promotion and increase her overall salary by $6,000.
She continued to attend workshops, thriving on the confidence she gained through the support and education at her fingertips in the Fresh Start Impact Program.
“The thing with us, as women, it’s so easy to feel we can’t do enough, that we don’t have confidence, we don’t have support. But when you take classes at Fresh Start, they actually change your mentality, the way you feel emotionally, and how you impact yourself and others,” Diana explained.
After taking multiple classes at Fresh Start through the Career Services and Health & Well-being pillars, Diana earned several more promotions at work and is now doing commercial real estate for Banner Health. With her promotions, she could afford the chemotherapy treatments for her oldest son. He is now in remission and has been cancer-free.
From that moment on her friend’s couch, Diana has made a complete life transformation. Not only does she have a fulfilling career and thriving real estate business, but she has also started her own mentorship program to help others heal their childhood traumas. Her newest goal is to become a facilitator of Safe Conversations by getting certified as a Dating and Relationship Counselor.
“Once you’ve learned to heal, you will know what your purpose is,” Diana shared. “You will know what you’re meant to do in this world, and that will transform you to help others. Because once we can do that—and that is what we’re all here to do—we can empathize and help those that really need it.”
Diana’s remarkable journey teaches us that we can rise from the ashes of our darkest moments. When old foundations crumble, we can begin again on new solid ground with the courage to face our trials and move beyond challenging times—trailblazing a path forward for others to follow. Like Diana, we can all bounce back from adversity and grow wings to fly.