Success Stories

Marva M.

Marva suffered from a 17 year cocaine addiction, until she decided to make a change. That’s when she and her son came to St. John’s. Marva was excited for the opportunity for a fresh start, and was determined to get her life and independence back. She attended therapy, addiction counseling and life skills classes. Soon, she began employment training at Plates Cafe and Catering, where she found her passion for working with people. In just five months, Marva completed her 600 hours of employment training and graduated from the program. She began working at Maloof Sports and Entertainment, Mulvaney’s Building & Loan and catered Sacramento Kings games for Levy Restaurants. Today, Marva is four years sober. She has returned to the St. John’s family, working at both the shelter and Plates Midtown. She is renting a house in Natomas with her family, without any assistance. Her goal is to give back to women in need. She is planning to return to school and study to become a substance abuse counselor. Marva has achieved independence.


Stepphanie N.

In 2010, Stepphanie and her son lost their home to foreclosure. With poor credit and little money saved, they had nowhere to go. That’s when Stepphanie came to St. John’s. At St. John’s, Stepphanie quickly adapted to the program. The comprehensive structure provided her with a strong support system and helped her to realize her goals. In January of 2011, she began the employment training program at Plates Café and Catering, and quickly earned housing through St. John’s subsidized, supportive housing program at Los Robles. Just 8 months later, Stepphanie graduated from the program and began working at Sacramento State University’s Restaurant and Mulvaney’s B&L. While maintaining these jobs, Stepphanie frequently visited the shelter to help the other mothers and stay involved. Today, Stepphanie has returned to the St. John’s family, after being offered the position of Front of House Manager at Plates Midtown. She leads a strong example for her son, and supports her family without assistance. Stepphanie has achieved independence.


Mary S.

For 25 years, Mary S. was in and out of an extremely abusive relationship. “I was not to be seen, not heard. I was not allowed to have an opinion. With no self-esteem, I was at the lowest point in my life.” St. John’s Shelter took her in, and provided her a chance at a new beginning. Mary worked hard, participating in counseling sessions and classes as she carved a new path for her life. In 2010, she joined the employment training program at Plates Café. There, she developed a great work ethic and employment skills. “I was determined to excel and not look back,” Mary said. She did just that. Today, Mary S. serves as our incredible Sous Chef. She is financially independent, and has successfully graduated from all supportive programs St. John’s Shelter offers. “Since working at Plates, I have received so much more than I ever expected and I have accomplished more than I could have anticipated. I have a sense of being.” Mary has achieved independence.


Angelique F.

Angelique had been homeless since the age of 18, moving from the couches of friends and families, to brief stays at motels. St. John’s Shelter took her in while pregnant with her son. She had neither a job nor means of support. At St. John’s, Angelique took classes and accepted counseling offered by the shelter, as she worked toward self-sufficiency and created a roadmap for her and her son’s journey. She soon joined the Plates Café and Catering employment training program, where she received job training and work experience in the culinary industry. Angelique has graduated from Plates, and successfully transitioned out of St. John’s supportive housing program. She is employed full-time as an Account Representative for Whitman Enterprises. Angelique has achieved independence.


Joyce E.

Medical Biller at Sutter Health and In Home Supportive Care

Joyce had lost her job, was pregnant with her fourth son, and was struggling to support her family. She knew she needed a program that would provide her with stability so she could support her family and begin rebuilding her life. St. John’s Shelter helped her gain that stability. Joyce took advantage of classes and opportunities available. Her favorites were Positive Thinking, Job Readiness, and Healthy Relationships, which instilled her with valuable advice she practices daily, “Be open. Take it all in. Don’t be afraid to shine.” Joyce also entered Plates Café’s employment training program, where she learned to interact with restaurant guests and catering clients. Joyce graduated from the Plates Program and transitioned out of supportive housing. She is working at Sutter and In Home Supportive Care. Joyce is supporting her sons, and has achieved independence.


Michelle S.

Michelle felt broken after suffering from domestic violence, and longed for a new beginning. St. John’s Shelter took her and her four children in. St. John’s challenged her entire outlook on life, and presented her with a positive perspective. Through the classes she took at St. John’s, including Positive Thinking, Life Skills/Parenting, and Domestic Violence Counseling, Michelle overcame her struggles. Michelle joined the Plates Café employment-training program, and realized her true self-worth. Today, Michelle serves as the Head Chef at St. John’s Shelter. “I have a permanent home. My kids go to school every day. I’m not on any government assistance, which is huge for me. It’s all because of the help I got at St. John’s.” Michelle has achieved independence.


Teresa K.

After being released from prison, Teresa was determined to reunite with her husband and children. Instead, her life took a turn for the worse. A week after returning home, her husband died, leaving her and their two children with nowhere to go, until she found St. John’s Shelter. Working with her case manager, Teresa set goals so she could achieve self-sufficiency. She soon joined the Plates Café employment training program, which helped her obtain housing at St. John’s supportive housing program. In January of 2012, Teresa successfully graduated from Plates. She is now working as the Banquet Captain for the Holiday Inn in Auburn. “Have faith. Make a choice. Don’t let your past define you,” she said, smiling. Teresa has achieved independence.


Vinita C.

Vinita had hit rock bottom. She had a history of drug addiction and domestic violence, and was struggling to readjust to life after prison. She was 7 months pregnant with her third child when she decided to make a fresh start, and turned to St. John’s Shelter for help. At St. John’s, she took classes, developed a sense of worth and a plan to self-sufficiency. Vinita also joined the Plates Café employment training program, where she developed culinary and customer service skills. She graduated from all programs at St. John’s, is working at Dad’s Kitchen and Amber House, and is setting a strong example for her children. “St. John’s gave me the tools I needed to create the life I desired for a very long time, but didn’t know how to achieve.” Vinita has achieved independence.


Patience A.

U-Verse Agent at AT&T

Patience was engaged to a heroin addict who abused her emotionally, financially, and physically. She desperately needed a new beginning for herself and her children. St. John’s Shelter took her in. The shelter’s structure helped her learn how to live with others. Through St. John’s Career and Education Center, Patience obtained her GED. She then entered the Plates Café employment training program where she gained the experience and work ethic necessary in her search for employment. Patience graduated from Plates and has successfully transitioned out of St. John’s supportive housing program. She is now working full-time as a U-Verse agent for AT&T. “Don’t doubt yourself, stay open-minded, and be willing to learn,” Patience said. Patience has achieved independence.


Christina C.

Christina was in an abusive relationship, addicted to painkillers, and desperate for a fresh start. St. John’s Shelter took her and her two children in. Like many other women before her, Christina felt nervous, unsure, and overwhelmed. She attended classes, accepted one-on-one counseling with St. John’s alcohol and drug counselor, and gradually gained confidence and a sense of stability. Through the Plates Café and Catering employment training program, Christina learned the job skills necessary to support her family.  Christina credits the interaction with other mothers living in St. John’s for enriching her life, and for filling her with the hope and strength she needed to complete the program. She now works full-time at Fortune School of Education. Christina has achieved independence.


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