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Santana’s Story

Santana worked with Avivo to completely transform her life

Santana has completely transformed her life. After leaving a negative family situation, she’s getting closer to financial stability, which will help her move her family off of welfare.

Santana grew up in a rough section of Milwaukee. As an adult, she lived with her fiancé and daughter. “I had a lot of traumatic stuff happen in Wisconsin,” she says. “I was involved with the wrong people.”

Santana’s relationship with her then-fiancé crumbled and depression set in. She turned to drinking for relief. Eventually, she had a lucky break: she spoke with a friend who’d left her similarly-negative life behind to start over in Minnesota. Santana’s friend suggested she live with her and see how things go.

They lived at Santana’s friend’s place in St. Cloud, a home with her friend’s five children. Santana and her daughter shared a twin-sized bed. Santana knew this wouldn’t work forever. To move out she’d have to work hard, get a job, and provide for herself and her daughter.

“When we worked on my resume I was surprised,” she says. “I was like ‘I’m proud of this. This is actually good work!’”

“Santana wasn’t sure she’d made the right decision moving to Minnesota,” says Kayla, her case manager at Avivo. “She didn’t feel like she’d find the right job, and didn’t think she was progressing fast enough.”

Avivo staff worked with her to strengthen her confidence and help her create a plan to move off of welfare.

Santana worked with staff at Avivo’s Job Club to create a new resume. Job Club is a group that meets weekly to search for job leads, tweak and develop resumes, and learn how to interview. “When we worked on my resume I was surprised,” she says. “I was like ‘I’m proud of this. This is actually good work!’”

“If you stay motivated and stay on your feet, you’ll have something to keep you going.”

Soon Santana started applying for jobs. “I was serious about my job search. I needed a job. I needed benefits. I needed anything I could get, to get on my feet for my daughter.”

When she started getting callbacks from potential employers, she started to feel more confident. Now she’s working two jobs, living in her own apartment, and content with the direction her life is headed.

Santana looks forward to taking college courses soon, and offers advice to women in a similar situation to her own, “There’s no magic solution, you’ve got to put forth your own effort. If you stay motivated and stay on your feet, you’ll have something to keep you going,”