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Individual Success Story


“I was not sure what kind of job I wanted because I have done the same job for 20 years and love it, but I don’t want to go back to the same life.” 

She’s Hired!

It had been over 33 years since Marita* last stepped foot in a classroom when she walked through Fresh Start’s doors in 2023.  

In that span she married her husband, had five children, and held a bookkeeping job at a local grocery store for 20 years. She worked every holiday and Sunday missing quality time with her now-adult children.  Through Fresh Start she wanted to find a job that allowed work-life balance and encouraged upward mobility.  

“I was not sure what kind of job I wanted because I have done the same job for 20 years and love it, but I don’t want to go back to the same life.” 

While she was in the throes of motherhood in 2003, Marita attended a mother’s spa day at Fresh Start. At that time, she considered utilizing its resources but was too busy as a young mother with small children.  

The years passed and she forgot about that spa day all those years ago until one day her friend mentioned the computer class she was taking. By happenchance, Marita asked where the class took place and her friend replied, ‘Fresh Start.’ It was at that moment that Fresh Start was reintroduced into her life.  

In July 2023, she started applying for various Fresh Start courses and took as many computer and finance workshops as she could. She enrolled in Microsoft 1 & 2, Excel 1 & 2, Google Sheets, Financial Families, Personal Empowerment Day, and various small business workshops.  

“Because it’s only women, I felt more confident… I felt safe with the classes and everything because we were all coming here to learn,” she said.  

Marita had an interview with Fresh Start team member Claudia who asked her, ‘What do you want for your future?’ Marita described her ideal role, and they decided the Women in Finance cohort would be a great option and match for Marita’s goals.  

“I was so excited, I felt like I had won the lottery when Fresh Start called and said I got the scholarship. I was so happy. All my kids got scholarships and we never had to pay for university, so I wanted to be able to do that too,” Marita shared. 

As the cohort got underway, Marita was surprised to find that she was struggling with the classroom environment and use of technology. She would come home and cry every night and each morning she asked herself, ‘Can I do it today?’  

“Because I was at home for three years, I wasn’t around anyone else outside my family, so the classroom environment was very different. But I feel so different now. It’s changed my life. After 33 years, I have classmate friends now, something I was never allowed before. My mom didn’t let me have classroom friends when I was little. This is the first time that I’m back in school and I can go home and talk to the women in my cohort as friends,” she recalled.  

Marita’s family also pondered how they could help her, and they wondered if she felt safe within Fresh Start’s walls. She assured them she felt safe and encouraged. 

“For me, to see the security outside and know that Fresh Start protects the women here is amazing. I know I’m fine,” said Marita. 

She watched her grown children apply and attend college and she knew she inspired them to continue their education. She hoped to one day complete her undergraduate degree as well and applied to Phoenix College to attain her accounting degree after the Women in Finance cohort completion.  

“I’m proud because I did it. Every day was hard. But I still did it. I ran into so many walls, but I jumped them. I feel like I crossed the ocean by myself. Before I looked at the world through a little hole, but now I know I can make a window to see the world. I feel freer,” Marita said. 

She’s Hired!  

Marita was hired as a Universal Banker at Desert Financial Credit Union.  She now has a 401k for retirement, a full benefit plan, and the career with the upward mobility she aspired to when she came to Fresh Start earlier that year.