| ||Meet Tricia |
MEETING TRICIA IS LIKE MEETING A FRIEND. Perhaps she is so good at helping and relating to people because of her own life experiences. Tricia is sitting at the TCH front desk via a circuitous route manner. After having her daughter at a young age, with the help and encouragement of her mother, she attended a local alternative high school. By the time Tricia was in the 9th grade, she decided that she needed to assume more responsibility for herself and her daughter. At sixteen she dropped out of school and began working at the zoo. Because she was able to live at home, all her extra money went into an “apartment“ account. At eighteen, she had moved on to another job where she made more money and she and her daughter were able to move into an apartment with a friend. She was determined to live a life off welfare and on her own.
Trish found a job in a deli that fit more into her dream of doing something in the culinary field. Tricia knew that she did not want work in dead-end jobs but wanted to pursue a career that would match her interest in cooking. She realized she needed her GED to make that dream a reality. Being a motivated self-starter, she began studying for the five GED tests on her own. Within a short time she passed the social studies, reading, and science tests, but self-doubt and math anxiety prevented her from passing math and writing. Her self-confidence fell to zero as she kept missing the cutoff score for the last two tests. She decided she wanted a more structured environment where she could get additional classroom and individual help with the math and writing sections of the GED.
After Tricia had worked in the deli for a time, it closed. She used the opportunity to follow her friend’s recommendation and enrolled at TCH. Unemployment insurance and her mother’s help with child care made the transition to school easier. Still, humiliated and frustrated that she didn’t get math, Tricia tried giving up. Understanding her frustration, TCH instructors Bruce McDowell and Christian Jensen came to her aid and encouraged her that “it would click one day.” They supported her and boosted her self-confidence.
Tricia continued going to TCH but her sense of responsibility meant that she no longer wanted to be on unemployment. She wanted to work. Lakesha, a TCH employment liaison collaborating with TCC, offered Trish the choice of several short-term training classes that would prepare her for a new career. With the understanding that Tricia would get her GED before the end of her six months in the receptionist training program, Tricia was accepted and enrolled. She had no computer skills but lots of customer service experience, enthusiasm, and the ability to multi-task. Tricia’s energy and her desire to make a better life for herself and her family ensured her success. Juggling TCC classes with TCH writing and math classes was difficult. Her mother, Bruce, Christian, and LaKesha all stood beside her and encouraged her when she felt she couldn’t go on. LaKesha became her role model. Trish finally received her GED and completed her training at TCC. LaKesha placed Trish at TCH as an intern for four months in the fall of 2006. In January 2007, she was hired by TCH. It was the first job she had with vacation, pension, and medical benefits.
Although receptionist work had not originally been part of Tricia’s long range goals, the training and subsequent job have given her some breathing room to stabilize her family and figure out her next steps.
Would Tricia’s success have happened through her own dedication, self-motivation, and hard work? Certainly. Tacoma Community House just believes we helped her make it an easier journey.