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Worth Celebrating

By Andy Boynton, Volunteer As a certified nursing assistant at a Tacoma retirement home and a student in the Central Service/Sterile Processing program at Clover Park Technical College, Yuridia De …

Meet Lillia

LilliaMeet one of our ESL students, Lillia, and learn about her journey to the United States. 

My name is Lillia. I was born in Ukraine, but now I live in the US in Tacoma. I came here on July 17, 2013. I currently work as a housekeeper and study at TCH.

I never thought about moving from my country, but my husband filled out the application for a Green Card. Coming to the US was always his dream. Then one day we received a letter that told us that my husband had won his green card. I need to say that in my country I had a beautiful house and a good job, so for a long time I didn’t want to move. However, my husband and my two sons really wanted to move to the US.  I agreed to move for my family.

I would like to share that I have lived here for two years, and I have never regretted it. The US is a great country. I like the phrase, ‘’America is the land of opportunity.’’ Because it’s true!

Interested in supporting clients like Lillia? Make a contribution today.

Meet Natura

Our employment team helps participants generate a resume, prepare for interviews, find employment, and more. Learn about Natura’s journey to success with help from the employment team.

1.) Where do you work and what do you enjoy most about it?

I currently work as an Outreach Professional at Sound Outreach. What I love most about my job is working with clients and connecting families with programs and benefits.

2.) What is the most important goal that you plan to accomplish?

My goal to acquire full-time employment has been met! Now, my goal is to purchase my first home in the very near future.

3.) Who is your hero and why?

At this time, I can’t say I have hero in my life. What I can say is every individual that makes it one more day, given their unpleasant circumstances, is a hero in my book.

4.) What is the most important thing that you learned from the Employment Program at TCH?

The Employment Program at TCH taught me there are still caring and kind individuals who want to see you succeed regardless of barriers. Additionally, it’s great to work with an organization who offers so much to the community.

Interested in supporting clients like Natura? Make a contribution today.

Meet Jennifer

Meet Jennifer

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Our Client Advocacy program seeks remedies for victims of crime – primarily related to domestic violence and sexual assault against immigrant and low-income individuals living in Pierce County.

Read a client’s story on their journey to safety:

Jennifer’s story is one of courage, resilience and a second chance. Born and raised in Kenya, Jennifer has always carried the spirit of determination in her. When she was 25 years old, she went into business for herself. She cultivated some land where she grew and sold watermelons. In the midst of her already stable life, she met, fell in love with, and married a US Army man stationed in Kenya. Together they moved to England and after a year and half there, they relocated to the Pacific Northwest. The relationship quickly became abusive and knowing her life was in danger, Jennifer escaped. She found her way to Spokane, WA and lived there in a women’s shelter. Jennifer’s advocate worked tirelessly to get her connected to social services that would help her gain control of her life. Knowing that she’d have more access to comprehensive social services in Western Washington, Jennifer was referred to the YWCA of Tacoma and began receiving counseling through their Violence against Women Act (VAWA) programs which ensures employment stability and economic security for survivors of violence. However, because Jennifer was also an immigrant, the YWCA referred her to Tacoma Community House where she was able to get both legal help in severing ties with her abuser and immigration assistance that would put her on the pathway to citizenship and give her access to myriad resources.

When asked to share her thoughts about Tacoma Community House, Jennifer said, “TCH is a very impressive place. Their help has been far beyond anything I could imagine. Not only have they helped me heal from my past, but they have helped me reach new heights by assisting me with my immigration status in connection with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP).” NWIRP promotes justice by defending and advancing the rights of immigrants through direct legal services, advocacy and community education. Part of NWIRP’s services include partnering with other organizations like Tacoma Community House in helping its program participants navigate policies and procedures that cater to their varying immigration needs, including helping survivors of domestic violence obtain U visas, conditional permanent residence or an I-360 which are all special pathways to citizenship for survivors of domestic violence.

Jennifer is grateful that TCH was not only committed to her survival but wanted her to thrive. “I don’t think I would be at this point on my journey without Tacoma Community House. The staff has been my pillar of strength throughout this process. In spite of everything I was going through, because of TCH, I knew I was going to be OK.” Jennifer was certified to work under the conditional permanent resident status which gives residency to the immigrant partner of a US citizen for 2 years upon the dissolution of their marriage. Under this status, Jennifer applied for a job as a firefighter and even went through the initial process to be part of the US Army.“ I wanted to prove to everyone that I was strong. Though none of those positions was the right fit, trying them out was a result of the new-found confidence I’d gained because of Tacoma Community House.”

Jennifer landed the right job in medical billing and coding; working at a physical therapy facility. “I have the pleasure of meeting people and through conversation I get to remind them that though they are in pain from an injury, they will heal again.” She expressed special excitement in having the opportunity to assist the Seattle Sounders, who use the facility she works at. While enjoying her accomplishments, Jennifer continues to work with Tacoma Community House’s legal advocates to become a permanent resident without condition and she will eventually apply for citizenship.

Healing has come for Jennifer in surprising and unexpected ways. In addition to her newfound job and stability, Jennifer was able to find her aunt and uncle who left Kenya when Jennifer was 10 years old, in Seattle.  “It’s been wonderful to reconnect with them. Now, my parents in Kenya get to rest easy knowing that I am fully surrounded by love. I have so much to be grateful for. It took many caring advocates to get me where I am today.” The journey for Jennifer began the moment she took charge of her life and sought help at the women’s shelter in Spokane. It took a good turn with the help of the YWCA and she has taken the final step in reclaiming full ownership of her life because of Tacoma Community House.

Interested in supporting clients like Jennifer? Make a contribution today.

Meet Corey

Former education participant, Corey, returned to Tacoma Community House recently to show his gratitude to the community that encouraged him to take and pass the GED® tests. Corey explained that he dropped out of high school in D.C. during his junior year. He fell behind in his studies and eventually slipped so low that he gave up. Corey spent some years in the state of Washington as an adolescent, so when he moved back, he began taking Adult Basic Education classes at TCH in September 2012. It was “redo part two” for Corey. He decided to come to TCH because his father had taken classes here as well.

Corey credits his teacher at TCH, saying, “I only had one class and that was for science, math, reading. I only had one teacher, and she was definitely great! I was only in the course for maybe two or three weeks. I was scoring high on the pre-test she gave me,
so she told me to go take the GED® tests. She told me, ‘just go.’ I went and I passed the first time!”

Corey is currently attending Tacoma Community College and focusing on Communications and Broadcasting. “I want to one day be a news broadcaster. No, not for sports. I would hope to be an anchor.” He shared that he aspires to do meaningful work like Oprah Winfrey.

He encourages others to further their education and pursue their dreams. “For anyone that still has time to get your education from elementary, middle, and high school I strongly recommend you to do all of that while you can. That’s something that I wish I would’ve known before.”

GED® classes are held Monday through Thursday and serve students in Washington state. The Adult Basic Education (ABE) program helps students with basic skills as well as GED® level work. 

Interested in supporting individuals like Corey, make a contribution today.