I FOUND my strength
It wasn’t that long ago when Yvonne would wake up in a cold and abandoned home with her family. Now she wakes up every morning, her 7-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter beaming joy, comfortable in a warm home. Her family’s safety and security motivates Yvonne to keep moving forward and pursuing her goals.
As a teenager, Yvonne’s life took an unexpected detour. In one hand she had an acceptance letter to CSU East Bay, and in the other, a positive pregnancy test. In the moment, she knew she wanted to be a mother, and knew that school would always be there. However, being a young parent came with its own unique and intense challenges.
Yvonne shares, “In the beginning my husband and I struggled. Together we were homeless, squatting in a foreclosed home for 6 months. During this time, there was mold and no heating which caused my son to catch pneumonia. Seeing him in the hospital for two weeks was soul-crushing and I knew things needed to change. So I enrolled at Civicorps.”
In spite of the adversity she faced, Yvonne knew that in order to overcome obstacles, she needed to strap on those boots and get to work. When she advanced to Civicorps’ Job Training Center, she learned the potential of her own work ethic. “Working in the field allowed me to understand responsibility and leadership. As girly as I am, it truly opened my mind about my craving for success.” Yvonne learned about responsibility and punctuality. She was winning awards from Hardest Hitter to Most Improved. Eventually she was promoted to Crew Leader, managing other Corpsmembers, a feat that she never thought she could achieve.
Yvonne knew she had it in her to accomplish more, so when she graduated from Civicorps, she applied for an internship at the Oakland Housing Authority, and internship partner Civicorps has had for over 10 years. Once her internship ended, Yvonne began working with Alameda Social Services Department. She developed a skilled administrative background that earned her a full-time position with the Oakland Housing Authority as an Office Specialist.
Her baby daughter is still young, but she can’t wait for the day that she once again receives that acceptance letter to CSU East Bay, where she hopes to graduate with a Masters of Social Work.
“Civicorps gave me opportunities to change my life. I didn’t know what to expect, but I learned to have an open mind and challenge myself to unleash my potential.”