Jeannie’s Story: Learning to support herself with Avivo’s help

Jeannie was stunned to find out her husband wanted a divorce. They had been married for 31 years and raised three kids together. Jeannie had recently finished a major, successful battle with endometrial cancer. “My husband was the primary wage earner and I was primarily a homemaker,” she shared. “I didn’t know how I would support myself on my own.”

For months, Jeannie was “emotionally stunned and daunted” by the magnitude of figuring out how to proceed in life. Her work experience was sporadic, and she hadn’t been financially independent in decades. What Jeannie knew was that writing was one of her strengths, and she started researching how to turn that skill into a paid communications position.

“Avivo staff were encouraging and positive about my skills at a time when I felt a loss of confidence … That foundation felt very good to me.”

Through her research she came across Avivo’s Displaced Homemaker Program*. The program is set up to help homemakers who suddenly, for whatever reason, need to support themselves. At Avivo, Jeannie was able to develop positive relationships with staff she refers to as “coach, researcher, and friend.”

“It’s been a really good connection and relationship, especially how non-bureaucratic and individualized the program was,” shares Jeannie.

“It’s been a really good connection and relationship, especially how non-bureaucratic and individualized the program was.”

As Jeannie continued her journey with Avivo, more opportunities opened for her. She attended training workshops, connected with Avivo partner Dress for Success for women’s professional clothing, and accessed the Minnesota CareerForce center.

“Avivo staff were encouraging and positive about my skills at a time when I felt a loss of confidence,” says Jeannie. “That foundation felt very good to me.”

After career training, job coaching, and working with staff to create a LinkedIn profile, things quickly started looking up for Jeannie. She interviewed for a communications position at a church and was hired with good pay and benefits. Due to the essential nature of her job, she’s still employed, despite impacts to the church from COVID-19.

“I felt lucky, really, knowing that through all of this I am enough to take care of myself… Knowing that everything will be OK and I will find great freedom in this. There will be joy in that.”

Jeannie hopes to gain new certifications in the near future, and she’s excited to advance her new career.

*On August 1, 2020, Avivo’s Displaced Homemaker Program will be renamed to the Minnesota Family Resiliency Partnership, which is funded by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). You can learn more about the program here.

 

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