Despite many obstacles, 22-year-old Odette has accomplished a great deal: a promising career, two beautiful children, a close family, a comfortable home. From the moment Odette came to Live & Learn, we knew her hard work and determination would take her far.

As a child, Odette moved to AZ from Mexico with her family. “Our parents loved us so much, above all they sacrificed so we could do better than they had.” At 15, Odette became a Dreamer under DACA. New possibilities opened up. Odette graduated high school with honors, determined to go to college.

Odette enrolled in Mesa Community College. She played soccer. She studied business. She thrived.

But then, at 19, she became pregnant. Overwhelmed with pregnancy and classes and work, Odette took a year off. Just when she was ready to return to school, she was pregnant again and considering dropping out again. “I was worried about how I was going to balance everything: a toddler, a pregnancy, school, work,” Odette remembers. That’s when she found Live & Learn.

“Live & Learn helped me I realize I can’t let motherhood hold me back. My children aren’t the reason I can’t achieve things. They are the reason I must.”

Live & Learn gave Odette the emotional and financial support she needed to succeed. Our Program Mentor helped Odette cope with the stress of her situation and stay focused on her goal. Odette received supplemental financial support to help with essential costs like gas and phone bills. Stephanie, Odette’s Client Coordinator, checked in regularly to make sure she was doing okay, to help her address any new obstacles that arose, and to provide guidance. “It was so nice to be able to talk openly, without judgement about everything: my kids, my partner, my worries and hopes.”

Odette worked hard and succeeded. In January 2019, she graduated from Year Up and started her career with a Phoenix-based tech company. Her income allows her to take care of her children and help her parents. “After all they’ve done for me, it’s rewarding. I’ve achieved all of this thanks to them.”

Plans for the Future

Odette is focused on building a savings account, to create a greater sense of security for her and her family. As her children get a little older, Odette plans to return to school to finish her Bachelor’s Degree and earn her Master’s Degree in Business.

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