From Painful Loss to Passionate Beginnings


The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all in different ways. While some people were able to take time off work and recover, others like Jessica faced devastating loss and difficult circumstances. As a mother of three, Jessica had to quit her job to care for her sister who had fallen ill with COVID-19. When her sister passed away a few months later, Jessica was left to bear the heavy burden of the loss. "So much of what I had saved up... gone. Even at that time, I couldn't afford to help much."

As a licensed esthetician, Jessica faced the additional challenge of finding a job that allowed her to balance work and family responsibilities. Despite her qualifications, she struggled to find employment and had to rely on welfare for support.

"Being on welfare doesn't dictate anything, you know, doesn't mean that I don't come with the experience and things like that, but sometimes it can be labeled," she says.

After months of searching, Jessica was referred to VOA SEP (Subsidized Employment Program). Working with our talent managers, Jessica found a job at a mental health service clinic where she felt valued and appreciated.

Jessica's experience highlights the need for ongoing support for families and individuals who are struggling to make ends meet.

At her new job, Jessica feels appreciated and valued. She is given room to grow and even train people herself. "I am a survivor of sexual abuse, and now I'm helping kids coming in who are also experiencing that," she says. Working for a smaller, intimate company, she feels like part of the team.

Her story is one of resilience and determination, and is an example of the power of employment to transform lives. Jessica is the 500th client that has been employed by VOA SEP and is a testament to the success of the program.

With continued efforts to employ our neighbors in need, we can create a better future for those who face challenges similar to Jessica's.

Learn more about SEP here.