Belen and her daughter Emma span Eliada’s cradle to career continuum.
Before we got to know Belen she was the kid who got in fights at school, skipped school, and talked back to adults. But when she was 16, she got pregnant. This was a huge wake up call for her. As she puts it, “I had to step up, and grow up.”
Nine months later, Emma was born, and Belen began experiencing a lot of firsts as a mom.
Soon, Belen learned about Eliada at her high school. After joining our Workforce Development program in March, she began to experience a lot of firsts. Over the next 6 months, she had job shadows, completed an internship, and had a paid apprenticeship at the Biltmore Estate.
Her favorite thing about working at the Biltmore was bringing Emma to the Estate. “There is so much space for her to run around.” This was such a contrast to their neighborhood.
This past June, Belen graduated high school.
This past September, Emma started child care at Eliada.
This past October, Belen got her driver’s license and first car. She also signed up for food stamps and Medicaid. She took huge steps forward towards independent adulthood.
In October, Belen also started classes at Goodwill so she could get her CNA license. She wants to work in a hospital or doctor’s office. Her professional goal is to become a nurse. She will soon start classes at AB Tech to achieve this dream. “I like knowing if someone is sick, I can help make them feel better.”
And one more thing happened in October. Belen and Emma moved into an apartment of their own on Eliada’s campus. They now have big open fields to safely play in together as mother and daughter.
This month, Emma is turning 2. She can speak words in both English and Spanish. She knows all her body parts, her abc’s, and can count to 5! And she’s experiencing some firsts. She’s piecing together full sentences and is starting to potty train.
Also this month, Belen got a job at the Biltmore, and is earning money to support herself and Emma.