A Q&A with Christina and Cesar


Christina and Cesar are married and have two children. Cesar completed Hope Builders’ Construction training program in 2007, and he now works in a construction warehouse. Christina is currently in the Business Applications program. Today, they are both positive role models to their daughter and son.

Christina and Cesar both grew up in Santa Ana surrounded by gangs, drugs, and violence. After years of getting into trouble and working minimum wage jobs, Cesar decided it was time for a change. Eight years ago, after hearing about it from a friend, he enrolled in Hope Builders’ construction training program.

Christina first heard about Hope Builders in 2005, but could never bring herself to apply. After celebrating four years of sobriety, she decided to finally give the training program a chance in 2015 and is now enrolled in the Business Applications program. She is excelling and has even volunteered to help with Hope Builders’ outreach efforts.

Christina, how has your experience at Hope Builders been so far?

“I think I’m in my 12th week now. The staff here is really helpful, like beyond helpful. Especially my Support Specialist. She uplifts me almost every day when I feel like I’m going to crumble because the courses here are really hard. I honestly feel blessed to be here.”

Cesar, why did you recommend Hope Builders to Christina?

“At the time, she was struggling to find a job, and her stressing out was taking a toll on me, too. We all live together, and it was hard. She couldn’t get a permanent job. A lot of the pressure fell on me. One day the idea just popped into my head: ‘Why don’t you just try the program that I went to?'”

Christina, how would you say this program has improved your marriage?

“I feel like I appreciate him more especially when my classmates talk about themselves in life skills workshops. I just realize how much I value him.  I finally understand how much he’s changed throughout his life, not just for himself but also for our family. I feel like he is my best support system. So, I really appreciate and love him very much.”

Cesar, how did Hope Builders play a role in helping you find your current job?

“The job I’m doing now has a lot to do with my training at Hope Builders because it uses the construction and carpentry skills I learned there. When I was looking for a job, the certifications I earned helped me get hired really quickly.”

Christina, what do you want for the future?

“What I’m hoping for is a better life. I want to live in a better area where I can better raise my kids. I’m hoping to get a job, not just one that pays more, but something that I enjoy. I hope that Cesar will someday get into the union. I just want to be happy.”

Cesar, what would you say to Hope Builders’ supporters?

“I would say a big thank you to anybody that’s supported Hope Builders. They’re helping. Whatever they’re giving, they’re helping people.”