Camp Núñez Camper: Alma Núñez

Alma Núñez has been a camper with Camp Núñez since 2018. Alma was a shy student when her mom heard about Camp Nuñez. Alma’s mom thought that attending camp would help Alma with her self-esteem. During camp, Alma was able to meet new friends, and learn new skills. Alma returned to camp in 2019 and was excited to come back to camp in 2020.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, Camp Nuñez was canceled and Alma was disappointed she was not going to be able to attend. Although our students were unable to attend camp, we still made sure to stay in touch with them and their families. Since we couldn’t host a camp, we were able to provide printers to the students. We reached out to Alma’s mom to see if she was in need of a printer for school. Her mom was delighted to hear from us because transitioning to online school was hard for Alma. She had a hard time getting used to the new normal. When Alma came to pick up the printer, she asked when the camp would return. With a broken heart, camp staff told her it was not known at this time because the pandemic was still an ongoing issue.

When she received the printer, we asked Alma what she was going to use the printer for. She answered that it would be used for her school work. We spoke to her mom a month after they had received the printer, and she said it has come in handy for the whole family.  The family has used the printer to help Alma with school work and projects. Alma’s mom has also been able to utilize it for printing her resumes and some activities for Alma’s younger brother. We will continue to check in with the family to inform them of the latest news about camp, and the possibility of Alma returning to camp in the future.

Tera’s Story

Tera was a member of our Clerical Supported Employment Group at disABILITY Services for many years, where she received paid employment training in administrative duties. Over the years, she has attended Santa Rosa Junior College in hopes of receiving her AA and she even received a certificate in administrative assistance from Santa Rosa Junior College during COVID-19. The pandemic did not stop Tera or our Employment Team, and we recently helped her secure a competitive, integrated job at Target in Santa Rosa. Tera is thrilled to take this next step in her career, and we are inspired by her determination. We are grateful to those employers who understand the value of hiring a diverse and integrated workforce!

Success Story: Nicole Muller

Nicole Muller was born in Colorado Springs, CO. to a family of 7 brothers and 3 sisters.  Nicole came from a dysfunctional family and was placed into foster care from the age of 18 months to 18 years old. She graduated from Prospects High School in Antioch, CA at the age of 17.

Nicole discovered early on that she was a hands-on learner.  She pursed a career in the medical field but did not find interest.  Nicole came across California Human Development because one day she saw an electric company sign off the freeway and did a Google search on how to become an electrician.  A site for Tradeswomen, Inc. came up and she clicked on the website and read the information about the organization.  Nicole called the number listed and was able to set up a zoom meeting to gather more information.  Nicole was able to meet with Salena Durrell, a coordinator for Tradeswomen, Inc., and the San Joaquin County Building Trades Council’s SB1 Apprenticeship Readiness Program. California Human Development is the trainer for the SB1 Apprenticeship Readiness Program (ARP) in San Joaquin County.

Salena let her know about the Apprenticeship Readiness Program taking place at CA Human Development starting June 1, 2021.  Nicole joined the program as the only female and thrived despite all the setbacks: dead battery all the time, car not registered, moved three times in eight weeks with her two daughters during the program, changed childcare twice – all while living on cash aid and making it to class every day.  She graduated on July 30, 2021.

One of the building trades, Sheet Metal Workers Union talked to the ARP class.  Nicole was very interested in the union.  What sealed the deal for Nicole was when members of the class went to the Sheet Metal Workers Training Center at Mather, CA for a tour.  Nicole was ready to sign up for the union then and there.  She met the Director of the training center and gave him her resume, certifications, and recommendation letter from her construction instructor, Eric Cosgrove.

She had to pass the ASVAB test for the union.  The first time she took it, she did not pass.  She persevered, took the test again, passed the second time, enrolled in training, completed training, and was hired as an apprentice Sheet Metal Worker for ACCO Engineered Systems out of Sacramento. Today she is working at the VA Hospital in Stockton. Next, she will be going to work on the new courthouse in Sacramento.

Way to go Nicole!

The After: Brooke Ross

Brooke Ross is another shining example of the kind of life the women of Athena House can have when they work hard and decide that recovery is worth it. It was more than five years ago that Brooke first walked through the doors of Stonehouse hoping that something could change for her. Brooke had not only suffered from addiction but had struggled for years with an eating disorder. Brooke spent six months of intense programming with us. There were many times where we were not sure if she would be able to manage the multiple issues and have the success she wanted. Brooke refused to give up and was determined to do whatever was necessary to get on the right track.

Today, Brooke is not only a five-year success story but she has remained closely connected to the staff at Athena House to share her journey. She is a radiating ball of light and hope for all the women who have had the opportunity to hear her story and meet her. Brooke is what we call a full circle success. A full circle success is an alumni who has achieved a career and now takes the time to hire and employ other women of Athena House to give them the same chance she was given. The Division Director for Substance Recovery Services has called her on multiple occasions and said, “I have a lady who needs a job”. Brooke will drive down from Healdsburg and interview onsite. She has made several donations and demonstrates a level of dedication to us and her recovery that makes us immensely proud.

We are grateful for all Brooke has done to give back to Athena House at Stonehouse and feel honored to be a part of her recovery journey.

Miguel’s Story

Miguel came into our Healdsburg Day Labor Center back in October 2019 after arriving in the United States. He settled with family and friends in the Town of Windsor. He came seeking a better opportunity in life to support his wife and children in Mexico. After months of searching for work, a family friend informed Miguel about the Day Labor Center. Workers are given the opportunity to earn a fair wage through honest work. He visited our center in 2019 to inquire about work opportunities. He did not know that months later he would have to travel back to Mexico to stay with his family during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When Miguel returned in March 2021 he came with the hopes of getting a stable job, after months of coming in and seeking work. He was able to build a rapport with the employers that sought his skills on a daily basis. Every morning he would come to the center and participate in the weekly COVID education classes prior to getting his COVID-19 vaccine. With the rapport Miguel established and getting vaccinated, we were able to help Miguel get a job at the center. He was hired on May 2021 in a full-time position helping a painter. Miguel was aware that this job was temporary but he was delighted to get the opportunity to have a stable income. With the stable income, he was able to send money to his family in Mexico and still provide a comfortable living situation for himself here.

On October 18, 2021, Miguel came back to the Day Labor Center to register on the worklist hoping that we could provide him with work. He informed the staff at the Center that due to the weather conditions his job was placed on hold and that the employer will give him another opportunity to come work for him for the upcoming season. Miguel is hoping to travel back to Mexico to spend the holiday season with his family.

CHD November Event Calendar

Hello November! Months are flying by and we aren’t stopping. Come check out what we have planned for the month of November. You don’t wanna miss out! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the staff listed on the events list below for more information about their events.