The foundation of One Family's work preventing family homelessness is direct service. We have two direct-service programs - Credential to Career Coaching (C2C) and One Family Scholars (OFS) - both of which help families experiencing or at risk of homelessness increase their income and achieve long-term stability. Scroll down to learn about how these programs impact families' lives.
From a young age, Jessica believed in the values of hard work, family, community, and education. The first in her family to go to college, she felt it was her chance to spread her wings and forge an independent path. These plans were upended, however, when during her freshman year she became pregnant with her first child. She remembers feeling terrified, and having trouble connecting the image of herself as a girl dreaming of a better life, and that of herself as a mother.
After the birth of her second child, a boy, Jessica made the tough decision to move back to Boston with her two children to be close
to family. Despite facing enormous housing challenges during this time due to failings in the system, and now being a single mom, she unwaveringly balanced work, parenting, and her associate degree program.
Jessica wanted to someday earn her bachelor’s, as she felt it would lead to better career opportunities and long-term stability, but the costs of college were already weighing heavily on her family. This is when, as a student at Quincy College, she found the One Family Scholars program. She says, “I remember going to the One Family Scholars orientation and being so inspired by the other women in the room, and having a big feeling of hope.” The program provided individualized coaching and scholarship funds, which helped enable Jessica to not only complete her associate degree, but go on to earn her bachelor’s in sociology, graduating from UMass Boston this past August!
Jessica had been working full-time during school to support her family. Now, with her bachelor’s degree in hand, she has been promoted the role of Practice Manager at her job, including increased responsibility and increased income. And this isn’t the end: Jessica hopes to enter a master’s program in public health next year, and is even looking to buy her own home soon! But her true goals, she says, are “to continue working on myself, to be present for my children and to never again be afraid of taking a risk. I will always reach higher!”
Esther is a single mom of three children ages 3, 8, and 9. An immigrant from Brazil, Esther had been using her language skills working as a part-time medical interpreter, but the income she made from this work was far from enough to support her family. This is when Esther joined Credential to Career Coaching (C2C) in search of a more secure career path.
During C2C, Esther told her coach about her knack for math, and they used this as a launch pad to potential careers. After thorough exploration, Esther realized that a career in accounting would not
only capitalize on her skills, but would provide long-term stability for her family. Esther and her C2C coach then worked together to identify affordable and reputable degree programs, and fill out her college applications and her FAFSA for financial aid.
Thanks to this help, Esther has now started her accounting degree at MassBay Community College! With the financial aid she is receiving, Esther will be able to earn her associate degree without taking out any student loans. She then plans to transfer to Framingham State University to complete her bachelor’s degree, which will give her the credentials she needs for long-term stability and growth potential in her field.
"I thought it was impossible to be a single mother and go back to school, but with the support of C2C my dreams are finally coming true."
Milagros (Millie) is a true supermom. Before joining the One Family Scholars program, Millie had become pregnant with twins at a young age, moved out of her home, and soon after was affected by domestic violence. She then had to make an incredibly hard decision: bravely, she left the relationship, striving to build a better future for her babies.
A new mom without her high school diploma, Millie was determined to complete her education and achieve stability for her family. With an incredible amount of hard work she earned her GED, followed by her associate degree from Bristol Community College. This is when
Millie became a One Family Scholar, to get the support she needed to obtain a bachelor's and pursue a career in social work. Thinking back to the experience, Millie says “I will never forget that call telling me of my acceptance to the program. I cried of happiness because I almost gave up on my education due to costs.”
Today, Millie has officially graduated with her bachelor’s degree in social work as a Dix Scholar at Simmons University – in the middle of a pandemic no less! During her degree, Millie’s accomplishments were myriad, including interning for the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. And she’s not stopping now. In the fall, Millie will be beginning her master’s in social work, which will launch her into a meaningful career. Her daughters – including her new baby, Sky – have an incredible role model in their mom.
"Thank you One Family for helping and supporting me not only financially but emotionally too. I am who I always wanted to be: free and educated. MSW here I come.”
A single mom of four kids under four, Anna joined One Family’s Credential to Career Coaching program in fall 2018 hoping to figure out a way to increase her income and build a more secure future for her family. She had been working incredibly hard balancing parenting and part-time work as a Certified Nursing Assistant, but despite this effort her wages simply were not enough to bring her family stability.
During C2C, Anna's One Family coach helped her align her many skills and interests to possible career paths. She is passionate
about helping people and giving back to her community, and realized that even though her work as a Certified Nursing Assistant wasn't supporting her family, there were many other healthcare jobs that could. Thanks to this coaching, within only a few months Anna secured a better paying job without needing to complete any additional credentials!
And Anna didn't stop there. In fact, this fall she was offered a new, full-time position as a Sterile Processing Technician at a hospital, a job that brings with it union membership, benefits, and a great starting salary with growth potential! Since completing C2C, Anna and her children have even moved into a new, more spacious apartment. Thanks to her own determination and One Family's support, the future Anna has built for her family is incredibly bright.
"Thanks for everything you guys have done for me. I won't ever forget it. Everything is falling into place for me!"
Aynoor's is an amazing full-circle journey. Having persisted through so many challenges in her life, she is grateful for her blessings during this pandemic, including a stable job and home, children who are well-placed in their own lives, and the ability to help others.
Aynoor became a One Family Scholar in 2013 having already survived so much, including the collapse of the Soviet Union and the experience of immigrating to a new country with her children. At the time, she was masterfully managing the pursuit of her associate degree in accounting while also parenting.
As a One Family Scholar, Aynoor received education and career guidance from her One Family coach, flexible scholarship funds, and even financial coaching through our partners at Compass Working Capital. This support, coupled with her own determination, enabled her to graduate with a sky-high GPA, and even continue on to earn her bachelor's in accounting at Northeastern!
After graduation, Aynoor hoped to enter a career that would combine her knack for finance and her desire to help others, and she found the perfect fit. In an amazing full-circle journey, Aynoor now works as a coach for Compass Working Capital! Compass provides savings and financial coaching programs to help families with low incomes build assets, achieve their financial goals, and become more financially secure, which perfectly aligns with Aynoor's interests and experience. She even provides financial coaching to current One Family Scholars!
Today, like all of us, Aynoor is trying to stay optimistic as she persists through the COVID-19 pandemic. Having already persisted through so many challenges in her life, she remains grateful for her blessings: a stable job and home, children who are well-placed in their own lives, and the ability to help others build brighter futures.
Reflecting on her experience as a Scholar, Aynoor says:
"One Family became a lifesaver and an empowering force for me. It provided me with the support to obtain an education and enabled me to plan my son's future in brighter colors. Most importantly, this program helped me be a role model for my son."
A single mom of two teenagers, Roxanna was having trouble finding adequate employment. Her part-time job with an office supply company did not provide the wages she needed to support her family, and while she already had a bachelor's degree from Puerto Rico, as well as an MBA, she was still feeling stuck. This is when she came to C2C.
During C2C, Roxanna told her One Family coach about her interests in the fields of finance and technology. Together, they curated multiple versions of her resume and cover letter, tailoring
them to specific jobs in those fields. The plan was to increase Roxanna's income as soon as possible, enabling her to complete her English as a Second Language (ESL) courses with reduced financial pressure, then use her improved English fluency as a springboard to new career opportunities - and the plan worked perfectly.
Within a month of completing C2C, Roxanna had increased her wages by 25%, putting her in a more stable financial position to complete her ESL classes. And today, equipped with newfound confidence in English and in the job market, Roxanna has secured full-time employment as a Senior Sales and Service Representative with a credit union! She is excited not only about the opportunity to work in finance, but the growth potential she sees on her new career path. Furthermore, Roxanna and her children were able to move into a new, more spacious apartment.
An inspiring success story, Roxanna has even started giving back. As a member of One Family's Advocacy Team, she has attended meetings at the Massachusetts State House to discuss the state of family homelessness and other policy issues with state representatives, impacting the future for other families in our Commonwealth.
A single mom raising two daughters, Diana was struggling to make ends meet. Her days were full working two jobs—as a Personal Care Assistant and a Certified Nursing Assistant—but combined these wages were barely enough to keep a roof overhead, and she had to work huge amounts of overtime. Determined to finally earn her nursing degree, increase her income, and build a more stable future for her children, Diana joined the One Family Scholars program in 2016.
A highly-motivated student, Diana had strong grades in almost every class, but failed Anatomy and Physiology (a prerequisite for
the nursing program) twice. Refusing to give up on her goals, Diana and her One Family coach implemented weekly check-ins to help establish a study schedule that made sense for someone working, studying, and raising children at the same time. Through this intervention, she was finally able to pass the course! Diana went on to graduate from Springfield Technical Community College with a stellar GPA in the spring of 2018.
While she had originally planned on a career as a nurse, talking with her One Family coach helped Diana realize that her interests were better aligned with a managerial role. She wanted not only to affect individual lives, but to make systems-level changes, especially in the area of staffing diversity and inclusion. Already equipped with a relevant associate degree and healthcare knowledge, she was then able to enroll as a One Family Scholar again at Elms College, where she recently completed her BA in healthcare administration! And she’s not stopping there. Diana hopes to earn a master’s in healthcare administration as well, opening the door to leadership roles in the field where she can make vast changes and broad impact.
Thanks to One Family’s guidance and support, coupled with her own hard work and determination, the future now holds stability and bright possibilities for Diana and her daughters!