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Individual Success Story


Sylvia’s Fresh Start story begins in 2015 in a moment of adversity.

Going through a difficult divorce, Sylvia* found herself feeling overwhelmed and alone: she was a newly single mother of two boys who was also trying to balance a full-time job. She came to Fresh Start in need of resources and support.

“I knew I needed support to continue on with my divorce because it could have easily transitioned to, ‘Okay, I guess I’ll just stay with him and continue this unhappy life of mine.’”

Sylvia got connected to a Fresh Start social worker who, after hearing about her situation, encouraged her to join a support group. For Sylvia, the sense of community and solidarity was profoundly impactful.

“It gave me the confidence I was lacking after going through my divorce and that hard season,” she recalls. The connections Sylvia built and the encouragement she received set her on a path of forward momentum and growth. “The support group was my segue to start taking other workshops.”

Sylvia bloomed, taking full advantage of Fresh Start’s offerings. She completed workshops on personal empowerment, healthy boundaries, and effective communication. She took computer literacy courses to improve her technical skills. She learned how to effectively set goals and achieve them. She also accessed career support services and was later awarded the E. Jean Goulet Workforce scholarship to reinvest in her professional growth.

Having achieved self-sufficiency, Sylvia didn’t stop there. She was inspired to take her next step: “I decided I wanted to get my bachelor’s degree.” In partnership with local colleges, Sylvia received a Fresh Start scholarship to pursue her four-year degree.

Sylvia continued working full-time and started attending school full-time. Despite the challenges of the demanding schedule, she notes that it was worth it—she was proud to be an example to her sons.

“I had my two boys with me the whole time I was going to school, and I got to show them that it was an important thing for long-term success,” Sylvia says.

“When they saw that I completed my degree and came to my graduation—wow, you know, that was one of my best highlights. I got to show them that I made it.”

Her bachelor’s degree newly in hand, Sylvia set her eyes on securing a higher-paying position.

“I set that goal and then came back to Fresh Start to get help with interviewing, resumes, and all that stuff.” With the support of Fresh Start’s career services, she was able to get that new job and increase her income.

“I set my goals and accomplished them. I am making lots and lots more money, and now I can support myself and if I had to, support my boys, too,” she shares.

“And now I have a new goal: make sure that my boys graduate. They are both in trade schools now and are continuing with their careers.”

Sylvia’s Fresh Start story is a story of our mission in action: creating multi-generational change by providing women with access and resources that help them achieve self-sufficiency and use their strength to thrive.

We also know that when you support one woman in her journey to empowerment and self-sufficiency, you change more than just her—you are impacting the lives of her family, friends, and broader community.