Individual Success Story
“I am a survivor of homelessness… I do know what bad days look like. And I do know that, although they don’t last, they do always come.”
Nyreesha* was a case manager who used Fresh Start as a resourcing tool for her clients and assumed she didn’t qualify to use the organization’s services herself. After a difficult incident at work, she was inspired to start her own business but didn’t know where to begin.
Then she learned that Fresh Start is for any woman aged 18 and up who needs support making positive changes in their life. Nyreesha researched all the elements of Fresh Start’s Impact Program pillars and was excited about joining the Small Business Start-Up Program (SBSU).
“When I started the program, I began to be committed to my own growth journey,” Nyreesha said. “Little did I know I was going to get way more than that. I didn’t want to just be better for myself, but I wanted to be a better mom and I wanted to be a better wife.”
Nyreesha started utilizing many Fresh Start resources to improve herself and create the life she had always wanted.
“I am a survivor of homelessness… I do know what bad days look like,” Nyreesha said. “And I do know that, although they don’t last, they do always come. And so, I utilized Fresh Start to build up those tools to give me everything I needed so that when those bad days came, I was prepared, and I knew how to handle them.”
Nyreesha graduated from the Small Business Start-Up program and won third place in its pitch contest, which was deeply impactful for her. She also started working one-on-one with a mentor and took part in group mentorship as well.
Like she was all too familiar with, life happens, and another rainy season befell Nyreesha and her family. On the same day, her father had a heart attack (and survived), and her husband was diagnosed with MS at 28-years-old. With her husband unable to work, Nyreesha suddenly became one hundred percent financially responsible for her entire family.
“It was extremely scary and extremely nerve-racking,” Nyreesha shared. “However, I knew that I had acquired the tools I needed. I was already equipped with the tools and the resources to make sure that I stayed successful.”
Nyreesha’s resolve was tested again as the world descended into the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. She got pregnant and later delivered her one-year-old son but felt like she lost everything. Her motivation to keep going had evaporated.
She gave herself the grace of time and eventually regained the desire to start again and reconnect with one of her mentors.
“To reconnect with one of my mentors from Fresh Start has been an absolute blessing,” Nyreesha shared gratefully. “I decided to start my own business. My mentor committed to meeting with me once a week to help me grow my business and relaunch it.”
As part of the relaunch, Nyreesha once again pitched her business to the Small Business Start-Up Program’s contest. This time around, she improved on her prior finish and earned second place.
Now, with her business successful, Nyreesha plans to become certified as a life coach, and views Fresh Start as a forever resource. The connections she has built have been a lifeline she knows she can depend on.
“Fresh Start has honestly given me the foundation and everything that I need to continue to just grow and to be a better me,” Nyreesha said.
Nyreesha’s story reminds us that—given a proper support network and the right tools—every woman can overcome enormous barriers and turn their situations around. Fresh Start is committed to supporting countless Arizona women along their own growth journeys. The ripple effect spreads far and wide and results in multigenerational change.