The foundation of One Family's work preventing family homelessness is direct service. We have three direct-service programs - Credential to Career Coaching (C2C), One Family Scholars (OFS), and Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) - all of which help families living with low incomes or housing insecurity to increase their income and reach stability. Scroll down to learn about how these programs impact families' lives.
Are you a current or former One Family program participant? Share your story below!
La Raye’s story is one of triumph and success. Her journey to the One Family Scholars program began back in 2007: La Raye was married, a mother of three, working hard to raise her two boys while also caring for a young daughter who was born premature and faced a series of health complications. It was around this time that she discovered her husband was grappling with addiction. Unfortunately, the family lost everything, and La Raye entered a shelter with her children. This was when she first heard about One Family.
La Raye told her shelter case workers about her education and career goals and the plans she had for herself and her family, but unfortunately she could not afford to go back to college because of her circucmstances. La Raye had been enrolled in college previously but had taken time off to focus on raising her family. Her case workers had encouraged La Raye to apply to the One Family Scholars program to receive both scholarship support and academic/career coaching. Thanks to an encouraging support team, La Raye re-enrolled at Cambridge College to complete her degree in 2016, and in December 2018 joined the One Family Scholars program!
In the program, La Raye really valued the relationships she built with some of the staff and other Scholars in the program - including the close personal relationship she formed with her One Family coach - in addition to the flexible financial support. Reflecting back on her coaching conversations, she recalls:
"[My coach] would always say, 'Raye don’t panic, just breathe, and we’ll make sure everything is set. You are going to do well. We’re not just here to help you with school, we’re here to help with whatever you need to be successful!' I could call him at any time, and he would always answer, and by the time we got off the phone I was feeling better."
This semester, La Raye’s years of hard work will finally pay off as she completes her bachelor’s degree in human services from Cambridge College! With graduation on the horizon, she is already working full-time in her field, in a position where she feels valued, and where she can learn and grow each day. La Raye plans to pursue a master’s degree in counseling psychology in the near future, and use this credential to open her own counseling practice where she can encourage and motivate others to see that mistakes don’t define who they are, and help them build towards their best selves. Her children have an incredible role model in their mother - and her youngest child is beginning college herself this year! The future looks truly bright for La Raye and her family.
My name is Amanda, and I’m a single mom of 4, a small business owner, and a student at Bunker Hill Community College. I joined the Credential to Career program (C2C) because I wanted support to get back into college, but was feeling overwhelmed by the process and worried about how to afford it. My entire adult life has felt like a struggle to support myself. I’ve had to work very hard physical jobs to support my family, and I believed I was capable of achieving more in life. I started my own cleaning company and achieved a lot through that, but it’s still been a very tough road. I was ready to see what else I could accomplish, and get to a place where I felt financially secure.
Being a part of C2C really helped me moved forward. I learned about different types of jobs I might be interested in, how much they pay, and how to enroll and afford college. Before joining the program I had been interested in the field of nutrition, but wasn’t sure if I could make a career out of it. Several years ago I changed my lifestyle to a plant based diet, and it had a huge positive impact in my life, so I wanted a career that would help people and raise awareness about the health benefits of changing your diet. C2C helped me realize a career in health & nutrition was really possible.
But the best part of the program for me was the support from my coaches, Emily and Femi. They cheered me on and told me they believed in me. I always walked away from a conversation with them feeling comforted and more confident. I haven’t really had women like that in my life. It makes a huge impact just knowing they are there for me.
During the program, Emily and Femi helped me apply to Bunker Hill Community College and I was accepted! My first semester there has been really good. I have a great advisor and the teachers seem to really care about the students. I’m very happy I was able to pull off balancing work, school, and home life. My kids are so supportive of me being in college and cheer me on when I pass a test or finish a project. And in December, I was even accepted into the One Family Scholars program, which will help support me as I earn my degree!
When I graduate from college, I see myself in a career in health & nutrition that will really make a difference in people’s lives. I dream of owning a home, being able to take vacations, and feeling financially secure. For my children, I hope that they will go straight into college and avoid the struggles that I’ve faced because I didn’t go sooner. C2C helped make these goals more attainable, and I’m excited to feel like I’m on the right track.
A loving single mom of two amazing children, Sasha joined One Family’s Credential to Career Coaching (C2C) program shortly after finishing her associate degree in accounting. She was considering returning to school for her bachelor’s degree, but wasn’t sure if an additional degree was worth the cost or necessary for her career goals. Sasha was working with a housing specialist at the time, who pointed her towards the C2C program for career guidance.
Reflecting back, Sasha says, “The entire C2C program was extremely helpful, especially the one-on-one coaching sessions. I was able to talk about my career goals and wanting to own a house, get help with my resume and cover letter, and ask questions about anything I needed.” While working with her coach to map out her career path and expected income, Sasha realized a bachelor’s degree would be an important step towards her career and housing goals. Since then, not only was Sasha accepted to Framingham State for her bachelor’s, she also joined the One Family Scholars program to receive scholarship funds and coaching between now and graduation!
Since becoming a One Family Scholar, Sasha has continued working full-time in her field. She shared:
“I cannot lie, it’s very difficult balancing working a full-time job, going to school and parenting. When I’m not working or doing school my time is fully devoted to making sure my children are happy. My daughters are my world, my reason. I want to give them everything and to show them that it is never too late to follow your dreams.”
And she’s right – it really is never too late to follow your dreams. When Sasha graduates, she will have the credentials and professional experience to achieve her career goals: becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and ultimately an Auditor. Five to ten years from now, Sasha sees herself owning a home, enjoying her family and career, and even helping her oldest daughter make decisions about college and career paths. In this way, Sasha’s hard work now is paving the way for her daughters and future generations to thrive.
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. This is when she joined the program.
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 herfamily, there were many other healthcare jobs that could. Through 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!"
Ashley is an amazing mom and dedicated college student, who has worked hard to get to where she is today. In 2018, Ashley was working with a Family Self-Sufficiency coordinator at her local housing authority when she first heard of the One Family Scholars program. A mom of 3 young kids, she dreamed of a career as a Nurse Practitioner that would provide both personal fulfillment and increased income, but she knew she would need a college degree to make it happen. When Ashley was accepted to the One Family Scholars program, it put that dream closer in her reach.
At the time, Ashley was earning an associate degree in nursing at Cape Cod Community College. As a One Family Scholar, she participated in monthly coaching to help her navigate the challenges of being a full-time student-parent. Reflecting back, she says:
“The coaching calls were amazing, especially during COVID. I remember sneaking outside to talk with [my coach] on the phone about how I was managing everything - it was so, so helpful.”
Through the program, Ashley also received scholarship funds to cover tuition, books, a laptop, scrubs for her nursing classes, and more. This support, along with her own determination, enabled Ashley to graduate with her associate degree this May! Since then, Ashley started her first job as a full-time Registered Nurse at Beth Israel Deaconess. The job perfectly positions her to enter a career specializing in neonatal or labor & delivery nursing, her top two choices. Furthermore, she is now enrolled at UMass Boston for her bachelor’s degree - in a program designed for working nurses - bringing her that much closer to her dream career as a Nurse Practitioner.
My name is Leannah and I am a 22 year old student-parent at MassBay Community College. I have two children, Lillyanah who is 5 years old, and Leonardo who is almost 2. My children are awesome. They are my whole world, and I cannot wait to own a home for us one day. Owning a home is something that is extremely important to me, because as a teenage mother I was homeless with my daughter, having to bounce in between family members’ homes. We are luckily now living in our own subsidized housing apartment, but I never want my children to be homeless, or go through anything I had to go through.
I decided to join the C2C program because I have always wanted a better future for myself and my children, and college has always been a goal, but I never knew where or how to start. During the program, my coaches were extremely helpful with getting me on the right path to start my goals. They helped me learn about budgeting, how much money we would need to live a comfortable lifestyle, even learning about the difference between for-profit and non-profit colleges. But one of my favorite parts of the program was exploring all the different occupations that are out there. It opened my eyes to so many different things I never knew about, and allowed me to match my skills and interest to different occupations and see which one would suit me best.
Through C2C, I realized I would love to be a business general operations manager. I decided to start pursuing this goal in an associate degree program at MassBay Community College right away. My goal is to transfer after two years, then get a bachelor’s degree at Framingham State University. I am now a full-time student, and working part-time to support my family while I’m in school. My first semester of college just ended, and it has been going excellent so far! I have made sure to keep focused on my future goals. Knowing that all this hard work will bring my kids a brighter future makes everything worth it.
In 5 to 10 years, I see myself graduated from college, well-established in my occupation, and finally owning a home. I am so thankful for One Family. Before I joined their program, I did not know how to apply to college, apply for financial aid, anything. Getting help from my coaches changed everything. It made me realize I can do this, and I will get where I need to be.
In September 2021, eleven years after graduating from high school, Leyani made the decision to continue her education and enroll for her associate degree at Roxbury Community College. A single mom of a then 3 year old daughter, Leyani was working incredibly hard to balance school, work, and parenting duties. It was then that she found the One Family Scholars program, which provided both one-on-one coaching and scholarship funds to aid her on her education journey. This support was pivotal, as Leyani is also a first-generation college student. In reflecting on her decision to return to school, Leyani shared that she hopes to change the course of the legacy passed down to her, and set an example for her daughter and future family.
Not only that, but while going to school full-time, and being a full-time parent, Leyani also works full-time in an organization where she has been able to earn her second promotion in less than two years. This Scholar is currently assisting some of the most underserved communities of Boston by helping them continue their education, and getting them back into the workforce.
Through incredible determination and perseverance, Leyani is graduating with her associate degree in May 2023 (which she accomplished in under two years!) She is even in the process of transferring into a 4-year institution where she’s hoping to earn her bachelor's and master’s in social work, with the eventual goal of becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. It is her life's mission and passion to become an agent of social change, and we are confident she will be a powerful force for good in the world.