Living couch to couch and abusing drugs, Lupe knew she had to make a change, but she faced unforgiving stigmas in her traditional Mexican family. She was at the point where she was going to lose her kids.
I was sick and tired of being sick and tired!
Lupe faced her fears and stood up against the threat of her family disowning her. I just said, “This is where I am…and now they’re so proud of me.”
Taking classes at Saint John’s taught Lupe how to save and plan for the future, and gave her financial independence for the first time in her life. “I used to get my food stamps and immediately sell them, just so we had something extra.”
She took classes on child development, where she learned how to be a loving and strict parent to her three children. Once her children knew they had a safe place to call home, their behavioral issues went away. “My kids still to this day ask when we are moving back to the shelter, that’s how much they loved it there.”
When she started working at Plates, she couldn’t read or write, but she was immediately put on the front lines, and gained the courage to succeed. Lupe earned her high school diploma at Saint John’s via its on-site Highlands Community Charter School program. She now works for the school, and every day, helps others achieve their own educational goals. “It’s my job, but we’re all family there.”
Blog by Guest Writer Robin Epley
Saint John’s Program for Real Change Volunteer