Jessica’s Transformation: Breaking Out of Poverty


Jessica organizes her desk at the end of her eight-hour day at work. Before going home to her apartment in Santa Ana, she picks up groceries at the market. She takes her 9-year-old daughter to her first dance class—her daughter is all smiles as they approach the dance studio together.

This is Jessica’s new normal. But life wasn’t always like this.

Jessica grew up in Fountain Valley. At 15, Jessica started experimenting with drugs. Her recreational use quickly turned into addiction. She lost control—the drugs took over her life.

With no job, no money, and no family support, Jessica lived day to day. To fuel her drug addiction, she resorted to stealing, but got caught. She spent the next several years in and out of jail, trapped in a vicious cycle.

“I knew I had to make a change. But, I didn’t know how. After all, who would hire someone with a felony on their record?”

Jessica heard about Hope Builders through a friend. She enrolled in the Business Applications program in 2010 and completely turned her life around.

The program gave her the structure and discipline that was lacking in her life. Coming to a supportive and encouraging environment every day was completely foreign to her. In addition to the technical skills, Jessica valued the soft skills she learned—how to be adaptable, how to work within a team, and how to communicate with others.

After completing training, Jessica was hired as an Office Assistant making $8.00 an hour. She excelled in her position and got promoted multiple times, eventually earning $14.00 an hour. Her wages kept increasing to the point she did not need food stamps anymore.

Today, Jessica is an Administrative Assistant for St. Joseph Health and is earning $23.10 an hour with full benefits. In six years, Jessica’s earnings have increased 188%.

Jessica’s success does not end there. She just completed her AA in Social and Behavioral Sciences and plans on getting her Bachelor’s degree. She also reduced her felonies to misdemeanors and is in the process of clearing her record.

Without Hope Builders, there is a good chance Jessica and her daughter would be living very different lives.

“Hope Builders not only changed my life, but my child’s too. I can financially support her now. Hope Builders was a gift to her too.”