Zahira Did It for Her Kids

Zahira | Program Participant Spotlight

The motivation to change your life can come from many places. Perhaps it’s circumstance or self-fulfillment. Often, it’s the commitment we make to ourselves and others. Wherever we draw strength from, it requires the internal drive of a person to transform their own life.

This is a story about Zahira, a woman whose “strength and persistence” secured a better life for her and her children.

Let’s Start with Housing

Zahira is a domestic abuse survivor who abruptly found herself living in a shelter with her children. Their lives had changed almost overnight. She needed to find them housing – and quick.

A local agency said they could provide temporary housing, if she could find a job or enroll in an employment training program. They referred her to Forward Service Corporation, where she enrolled in Wisconsin Works (W-2) for employment assistance.

Tracie, Zahira’s W-2 case manager, worked with her to determine what she wanted to do. She decided to take the Call Center Professionals training. Despite everything on her plate, Zahira approached the training with zest.

However, when COVID hit, she had to leave the temporary housing and move her children into a hotel room to quarantine. On top of that, a change in her life meant she no longer met the verification requirements of W-2 before she could finish her training. There was still an option, though.

Finding a Way Forward

Tracie recommended that Zahira enroll in the FoodShare Employment and Training (FSET) program to continue receiving employment assistance. She met Kim there, a Job Developer who would help her complete her journey.

“This lady has quite a bit of strength and persistence,” says Kim. She helped Zahira transfer into a similar course for office professionals. While living with her children in a small hotel room made things difficult, Zahira managed to not miss a single assignment for her training.

Still, she needed to find more stable housing and found herself caught in a catch-22. She needed employment to get approved for housing and a resume to apply for employment, but she needed to finish the class to finish her resume.

The thought of her children pushed her forward.

The Beginning of the Beginning

Zahira worked with Kim to search for employment opportunities while she was still in class. Soon they identified an opening that she found interesting. The job would allow her to secure housing and the ability to work from home—flexibility a single mother needed. As she refined her resume and interview skills in the training, Kim started conversations with the company to get Zahira an interview.

Because of the relationship between Forward Service Corporation and the company, they were able to provide the necessary documentation Zahira needed to secure the housing while she was still in the final interviewing process. Zahira soon graduated the Office Professionals training, began her new job as a bilingual call center professional, and moved her children into a 3-bedroom house they could call their own.

Zahira concludes that Forward Service Corporation “made my children’s and my life so much better, and I am so thankful for their help.”

We are thankful for program participants like Zahira whose unflinching determination is an example for us all.