Not many of us are forced to make a life-or-death decision in our lifetimes, but Jasmine had to do just that. The mother of four had been in an abusive relationship since she married at age 14 and knew that if she did not leave her husband soon, his abuse would eventually lead to her death. Jasmine matter-of-factly states, “I had to leave or I was going to die.” Fearing for her life, she made the difficult decision to leave the marriage and fled with nothing more than her four children and $200 she had taken from her husband. That money did not last long – 2 nights in a hotel to be exact – and Jasmine soon found herself in various homeless shelters around the Denver area. Though she wanted to work to support her family, Jasmine had been a stay-at-home mom for 14 years and lacked the work experience and skills necessary to find a decent paying job.
After expressing her frustrations to her TANF manager, Jasmine was asked a simple but important question: what do you like to do. Jasmine said she liked to cook, a skill she picked up from her own kitchen while preparing family meals. Recognizing that Jasmine would be a perfect fit for WOW, her TANF manager suggested she attend an orientation to learn more about the program.
When Jasmine joined the WOW program, she faced many obstacles in her life. She still lacked stable housing and childcare, and her children were not enrolled in school. Her WOW Case Manager – Courtney – saw her determination and did what she could to assist her. Courtney partnered with Jasmine to secure housing and even helped her find furniture! She directed Jasmine to childcare options and facilitated registering her children in school.
Once Jasmine’s home life was more stable, she was able to focus on completing and excelling in the WOW program. Proving to be adept and eager, Jasmine emerged as a leader in the kitchen. Completing 11 weeks in the program, Jasmine began a 4-week internship at Café Options. With this additional experience under her belt, she began the job search in the WOW Career Center. Submitting many applications and resumes with no interviews, Jasmine was a bit discouraged. However, her determination kept her going and she soon had multiple interviews, all of which she aced – Jasmine was offered 3 jobs in one day!
In less than a year, Jasmine has moved from a dependent, abusive relationship to an employed, independent woman. She says, “I have grown to be self-sufficient and a positive single mother for my children.” Her children are proud of her and so are we. We know Jasmine will go far – she already has aspirations of owning and operating her own Latin/Caribbean style food truck. We wish Jasmine the best as she undertakes a new career and a new life.