A Survivor’s Success Story: Meet Jonia

“Most of all, I wanted so bad for my kids to have a dad and grow up in a family.” As a young adult, Jonia’s determination to create an ideal family for her children led her deeper and deeper into an abusive relationship. With the support of Live & Learn, Jonia eventually realized that a different life was possible. Once she realized that, there was no stopping her. Jonia was raised by a single mother in Phoenix. She did well in high school and immediately enrolled at Phoenix College. At 19, she had her first child. The demands of caring

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Reflections from a Client Coordinator: Part 2

Ruby Cervantes joined Live & Learn as a Client Coordinator in spring 2017. During her two-and-a-half years with Live & Learn, Ruby helped over 200 women journey out of poverty. This is the second part of an interview Ruby gave just before she left Live & Learn in July 2019. What was your biggest challenge during your time at Live & Learn? The biggest challenge has really come towards the end of my time here. We’re seeing community funding get tighter, not just for Live & Learn but for everyone. In the past year, I’m seeing community partners less able

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Reflections from a Client Coordinator: Part 1

Ruby Cervantes joined Live & Learn as a Client Coordinator in spring 2017. During her two-and-a-half years with Live & Learn, Ruby helped over 200 women journey out of poverty. Just before leaving in July 2019, Ruby shared her reflections on her time at Live & Learn, the struggles faced by women in our community, and the lessons she will be taking with her. How did you first get involved with Live & Learn, and what drew you to the organization? I worked as a Family Support Specialist at Southwest Human Development, and I would meet with the families to

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Summer Water Relief for Women and Children

Arizona Public Service employees donated 400 water bottles in June 2019! This summer, under the AZ sun, over 100 Live & Learn women will be walking and taking buses each day to get to work and school. Women like Angelica. Angelica is a single mother of two who works full-time and goes to school. She cannot afford a car and uses public transportation to get herself and her children around the city. Every week, she spends approximately 13.5 hours walking, riding the bus, or waiting at a bus stop. Even in the summer, when temperatures rise above 100 degrees daily,

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Success Story: Meet Celeste

Celeste grew up in foster care in Phoenix. When she was 18 years old, she moved in with a boyfriend who abused her emotionally, physically, and sexually. That same year, she had her first child. The abuse continued, but Celeste lacked the self-confidence and the resources to leave. It would take another pregnancy, the help of Live & Learn, and her realizing her own strength before she would change her life. At age 22, finding herself pregnant a second time, Celeste experienced “a feeling of responsibility for my children that made me realize I had to make a better life

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Success Story: Meet Erika

 Erika is a Dreamer: she immigrated to AZ from Mexico with her family when she was fifteen years old and lives in Phoenix under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA allows Erika to stay in the country without fear of deportation, but it bars her from many opportunities enjoyed by citizens, including financial aid for school. Despite her limited legal status, Erika is a hard-working mother who, as a Live and Learn client, is determined to make a better life for herself and her children. When Erika’s family first immigrated to Arizona, they shared a tiny apartment with another

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Success Story: Meet Carrie

Success Story: Meet Carrie In 2013, after watching her youngest sister pass away from cancer, Carrie devoted herself to the study of natural medicines. She had one goal: “To really bring healing and comfort to people in a way that conventional medicine often cannot.” Carrie threw herself wholly into her pursuit, sacrificing everything else and working tirelessly for six years to earn her medical degree. It was a long, hard journey, but one Carrie believed in deeply. Carrie sacrificed a great deal in order to study at the Southwest School of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ, one of the only

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TOTAL: A Pathway to Success!

In January 2019, we welcomed our fourth cohort of clients into our innovative TOTAL Career Pathway. Live and Learn developed TOTAL in 2017, to prepare and support low-income women for technology careers in the Phoenix area. It is crucial that our clients follow education and career paths in fields with high-employment demand that offer a livable wage, and the tech industry is exactly that. TOTAL is an intense journey, and the success of our clients in this program has been truly inspiring.  >>Read about one woman’s journey here. Why the Tech Industry? The Phoenix-metro area is the 3rd fastest-growing tech

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Success Story: Meet Shekinah 

You won’t meet a more driven 21-year-old than Shekinah. In January 2018, she became a Live and Learn client and entered the TOTAL Career Pathway (Training on Technology and LifeSkills). This program is offered by Live and Learn in partnership with YearUp. For 7 months, Shekinah took classes and worked part-time. Then, in August, she began a prestigious internship with Bank of America. She gets up every morning at 5am to catch the bus to her internship, and still works on the weekend to make ends meet. With Live and Learn’s help, she’s getting closer to realizing her dream of

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Success Stories: Meet Tamara

 “Ever since I was a little girl, being a nurse was always my dream,” remembers Tamara. As she grew older, Tamara lacked the self-confidence to pursue a nursing career, though she never stopped dreaming of it. It would take the birth of her son in 2017, and the support of her Live and Learn Client Coordinator Ruby before Tamara would believe in herself enough to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse. For more than ten years, Tamara worked tirelessly as a caregiver in an Assisted Living Facility. She rose to a manager position, and she watched as employees

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