Maria: A Journey of Hope 

Maria Araiza

Maria joined Hope Builders’ Child Development Careers training program with the hope of launching a new career she would enjoy.  

Growing up in Santa Ana, Maria describes her childhood as “not the best.” Her mother passed away when she was 4 years old. After years of tension with her dad and step-mom, at 13, she moved in with her God Parents.   

After graduating from high school, Maria enrolled in community college but lacked the support and guidance to be successful. She lost her financial aid after failing her classes, so she dropped out of school to work full-time in retail.  

Maria felt lost and hopeless until, at 21, she heard about Hope Builders and its free job-training programs from a friend. She jumped at the opportunity for advancement and applied to the Child Development Careers training program.   

As a Hope Builders’ trainee, Maria co-enrolled in Santa Ana College. With the one-on-one support she received from her instructor, case manager and employment readiness coach, she worked diligently to overcome any barriers she encountered to advancement. Maria shares, “in the beginning I got offended when they told me things I didn’t want to hear, but they were able to tell me in a nice way that allowed me to understand what I needed to change.”   

Hope Builders staff helped Maria understand how her communication style and tone could be negatively perceived in the workplace. She learned the importance of self-awareness, which has transformed how she interacts with others.  

“I was so determined to not give up because it was my last chance and I had nothing else.  I knew I needed to finish to get a better job.”  Her hard work paid off and in 12 weeks, she successfully earned 9 units and an Early Childhood Assistant Teaching credential. 

In November, Maria started her career as a Behavioral Therapy Assistant at a local elementary school. During her first six months of employment, Hope Builders regularly checked-in with Maria to ensure her continued progression. Her positive attitude and diligence was recognized by her employer and she recently earned a $2/hour raise!  

Maria is deeply grateful for the training and support she received at Hope Builders. “I love working with kids and am so happy. I couldn’t have done it without Hope Builders—THANK YOU!” 

Thank you for investing in Maria and the hundreds of young people who annually enroll at Hope Builders seeking a pathway to prosperity.