Pamela’s story: Overcoming the odds during a pandemic 

When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, Pamela was enrolled in training at Avivo. She received her work permit in April and was moving forward on her personal goals for supporting herself and her son financially. Attending Avivo’s IT program in-person came to an abrupt halt; she lost several supports and isolation started to set in. 

“Because of the pandemic, I was bound to home and couldn’t get the resources,” shared Pamela. “Everything was down. Though I had other [academic] certifications, I couldn’t finish the in-person training program.” 

Pamela has been working with Jacqueline, a mobility mentor from Avivo’s EMPath Program, since 2019. During the pandemic, Jacqueline and Avivo were there. 

“[Jacqueline] has been so resourceful in helping me with continuing my course work at Avivo,” shared Pamela. “She was connecting me to interviewing [for jobs], and she connected me to the grant program.” 

“[Jacqueline] has been so resourceful in helping me with continuing my course work at Avivo… She was connecting me to interviewing [for jobs], and she connected me to the grant program.” 

The Avivo grant program was a 12-month universal basic income, or guaranteed income, pilot called Project Solid Ground. It was privately funded by Avivo donor and philanthropist Nancy Somers who is passionate about helping low-income families experiencing economic and health crises. Avivo facilitated the program for 15 individuals to help alleviate the financial stress and crisis brought on by the pandemic. The individuals were randomly selected, Avivo participants who received monthly cash disbursements of $1,000 from October 2020 through September 2021. 

“I was very excited about the grant program. I wasn’t working. It was so helpful,” shared Pamela. “I just left the shelter and moved into my own apartment. The grant helped me buy diapers for my son and outfits for him. [It helped me] get internet for my apartment and get some things for my apartment. I was able to do some savings and I now have a little bitty car.” 

“I just left the shelter and moved into my own apartment. The grant helped me buy diapers for my son and outfits for him. [It helped me] get internet for my apartment and get some things for my apartment. I was able to do some savings and I now have a little bitty car.” 

Pamela was also able to complete her IT training program at Avivo virtually. Her mobility mentor continued to help her find a job that she could work at remotely. She even started a small online business on eBay and Amazon.com. 

In September 2021, she started working full-time, remotely, for Target from 1 to 10 p.m. The shift became hard to manage because she had to pick up her two-year-old son every day from daycare at 5:30 p.m. By November, she was able to find a different full-time, remote position through a temp agency, working 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. She was placed with LHI, a health services company, providing customer support for coordinating COVID-19 testing centers. 

Pamela shared that Jacqueline helped keep her on her toes and make the best of her resources. She was able to set aside some money for savings to help if funds run out. She will continue to work with Avivo to advance her goals and dreams of supporting her family!