Odessa Finds Her Voice
Putting together a sentence has always been tricky for Odessa, so when she got the keys to her new apartment, she sent us a picture! Several months earlier, a domestic situation left her homeless with a baby. She was determined to find a safe home, but finding a good job was tough. She didn’t have a phone or driver’s license, and she was sleeping on the couch at a friend’s house. While stress makes Odessa go mute, at FSC, she found the voice she needed to move forward.
“Renee was my voice when I could not use mine,” Odessa tells us. Renee is the Wisconsin Works case manager who helped Odessa through every aspect of her situation. She referred Odessa to numerous resources and helped her apply for each one, including WIC, FoodShare, and FSET. She even helped her call to check on apartments.
In fact, Odessa found a whole network of support at FSC. “There were other people who came into Renee’s office for help, and they offered to assist me too,” she says. An office volunteer showed Odessa how to get her license, get insurance quotes, and apply for a Job Access Loan. Meanwhile, Renee helped Odessa apply for jobs, craft a great resume, and ultimately find the job she needed by referring her to Jeralin at the Job Center.
Odessa started working full-time as a seamstress at Lion Apparel, soon after Jeralin introduced her to their team. It’s within walking distance, and she says they’ve been great about making reasonable accommodations. “The people there are so nice,” says Odessa. “The job really suits me right now, and I really like it!”
Things just keep getting better. Renee and Odessa are still working together as she’s setting up her new apartment, thanks to help from Emergency Assistance and Advocap. “The next thing on our list is to go over setting up a checking account and a budget,” says Odessa. Then they’ll be taking steps to achieve her long-term dream of becoming a dental assistant.
You have made amazing strides, Odessa! Congratulations!
Sa couldn’t bring much with him when he fled from the ongoing crisis in Myanmar, but he did carry with him a wealth of experience and boundless optimism that he’s using to build his future in the US. Since joining FSET in 2016, he learned English so quickly that he became an impromptu translator for other refugees. His life has given him a compassion for others and a drive to learn, which he’s putting to good use as he works toward his dream of becoming a pastor!
Sa has a strong belief in education. While he struggled with English at first, that didn’t last long as he enrolled in ELL classes. Pretty soon, he put his newfound language skills to work by helping other refugees make their new homes in Wisconsin. This also lead him to the local technical college, where he just earned his HSED.
Before he’d even finished his HSED course, however, Sa was already looking ahead to his next goal. He talked with teachers at Lakeshore Technical College before graduating, and this fall he’ll begin earning his Associate’s Degree in Mechanical Maintenance.
That’s only part of the story. At the same time, with the help of FSET, Sa found a part-time job at the YMCA through DVR, started physical therapy, and is pursuing US citizenship. He also translates his church service for other refugees each week. He hopes to put his passion and continuing education to work as a pastor someday.
Michelle and the rest of the FSET team have been duly impressed as they guide him toward his goals. “Sa has accomplished so many things during his short time with us,” says Michelle. “He is sure to accomplish more!”