With the determination to build a foundation of independence, Phoenix, a 16-year old young woman in foster care, enrolled in PRIDE’s Youth Services Program and she has graciously allowed us to share her story.

After Phoenix celebrated her 16th birthday, she soon realized she would be reaching a serious milestone. “In two years, I am going to be financially on my own,” says Phoenix. “I needed to get a job to start saving for my future.” However, getting that first job was more difficult than she had anticipated; lack of reliable transportation, a phone and prior job experience all presented challenges. When Phoenix was first invited to participate in an interview, she did not know how to navigate through difficult questions.

Fortunately, Phoenix’s foster mother referred her to PRIDE Industries’ Youth Services Program, which connected her with Job Developer Danielle Anderson. Together, they worked to create a resume and cover letter. Phoenix practiced interviewing and worked on her posture, speaking tone and eye contact. Practice soon made perfect, and Phoenix’s confidence increased.

In addition to the guidance provided by PRIDE’s staff, donors funded some essential items needed for employment success, including a cell phone and new interview attire.

The job search was not an easy one. “Not hearing back after applying was very frustrating,” says Phoenix. “As a minor, my job options were already limited.” Despite the long process, Phoenix persistently applied and followed up with every opportunity that she could find. After a few months, she landed an interview at a local restaurant. With the new skills that she had learned, Phoenix was hired on the spot as a store associate/cashier in June 2017.

“The guidance I received from Danielle and PRIDE’s Youth Services team will continue to help me when I attend college and begin focusing on starting a career,” says Phoenix.  Phoenix graduated from high school and is now attending Sierra College and moved out of her foster parents’ to Taylor House, a transitional home for former foster youth.

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“Coming from foster care, I often felt uncomfortable when asked questions about my personal life and background. I didn’t feel like I had the answers that they wanted.”

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