Regina overcomes every struggle life throws her way and learns her deepest truth in the process.
“I was grieving after my mom passed away seven years ago, so I turned to drugs and alcohol. My addiction led me down the wrong path to a point I needed help. I moved into a recovery home, where I not only began healing from addiction but grief and heartbreak.
“I was inspired by my friend in the recovery home; she was working with Cara to change her life. Cara’s Transformations training helped her get back on her feet, and I was ready to give myself a second chance, too.
“When I came to Cara, it changed everything for me; I met people who were just like me. We were all there to achieve our goals in life, and that was the motivation I needed to unlock the potential inside of me.
“When my classmates started interviewing for jobs, I felt discouraged because many of my friends were getting hired, but I wasn’t having the same success. So many times I wanted to leave, but Mr. Jesse helped me understand that it wasn’t my time yet, and I shouldn’t give up. He assured me that great things were going to happen for me.
“I thought about my son, and he motivated me. I wanted him to finish high school so we made a bet that he would finish high school and I would finish Cara. I had to show him that if his mama can do it, he can do it, too. And he did!
“From that point on, I stayed motivated and determined to get a job. I joined Cleanslate, Cara’s exterior maintenance social enterprise, to get some experience that I could add to my resume. Working with Cleanslate for a year gave me a lot of time to think about the direction my life was headed. It taught me to look at every day with new eyes, and that’s why I keep elevating myself.
“Finally the day came when I got a job offer from the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). I accepted the job, and I cried while ringing Cara’s bell in their Great Room to celebrate the opportunity. I was hired as a Bus Servicer to clean the buses and then promoted to cleaning trains. I was with CTA for two and a half years and thought it was going to be my career until I had a heart attack. It took me almost a year to walk again. I had to resign to focus on my health, and Cara was there to support me every step of the way.
Regina rings the bell with her coach, Nora, to celebrate her new job with Catholic Charities
“After I got well, I called Cara because I didn’t want to stay home and be on disability benefits. I’d been on benefits most of my adult life and I didn’t want that ever again. Cara Connects, Cara’s mission-driven staffing firm, found a janitorial position with Catholic Charities WIC Center. I was excited to get the temporary job and then hired on permanently four months later.
“Cara taught me to think outside the box and pursue new opportunities, so when an associate position opened up, I nailed the interview and moved into the role. Since then, I’ve been promoted twice and now serve as the center’s floor manager. My next goal is to become WIC’s assistant manager, and I’m a few tests away from getting my GED to make it happen.
“I’ve realized that the deepest truth of who I am lies in my ability to persevere and always finish what I start. I recently celebrated seven years of sobriety, and when I look back to where I was, I couldn’t be more proud of how far I’ve come.”
Your donation this Giving Tuesday helps Cara participants like Regina find the deepest truth of who they are. Please join our community and become a Cara Champion, supporting Chicago’s motivated job seekers who are ready to get back to work and transform their futures. Visit our Giving Tuesday website to make a gift. Thank you for being our Champion!