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Maxine’s Story

Maxine is 24 years old and has a 7-year-old daughter. When she came to New Moms looking for assistance with job training, she had a very limited job history and no high school diploma. At the time,  she and her daughter were living in the basement of a building. Maxine and her daughter were struggling and dependent on others for their basic survival.

After she completed our Academy of Professional Development (now known as our Job Training program), Maxine began a transitional job at our social enterprise,  Bright Endeavors. There, she worked hard to learn new skills and began to set goals for herself. While on the production floor, Maxine showed initiative, making improvements to the production process. Noticing an imperfection in a candle surface, Maxine began experimenting with the candle wax. She discovered that the air conditioning in our production studio was affecting the quality of candles. After carefully documenting and sharing her experiments with the Bright Endeavors team, Maxine found ways to improve the product quality immensely.

She also opened checking and savings accounts so she could take advantage of direct deposit and track how she was spending her money. On her commute to and from work at Bright Endeavors, and during production breaks, Maxine studied for her GED exam. After a whole summer of studying, she took the exam — and passed! When she heard the news, she cried tears of joy. Obtaining a GED meant that Maxine would be eligible for jobs requiring a high school diploma — and more importantly, it meant that she was eligible to enroll in a nursing school program, where she could work toward her career goal.

Since completing her transitional job at Bright Endeavors, Maxine has completed training to become a Certified Nursing Assistant, and obtained certifications in phlebotomy and EKG administration. She works as a Certified Nursing Assistant for Jackson Park Hospital. She has moved out of the basement she was living in, and now shares an apartment with her daughter. She is thrilled to be living in her own home. With her first year of savings, Maxine bought a car.

In addition to working and parenting her daughter, who is flourishing in the second grade, Maxine is attending a Chicago City College to obtain an Associate’s degree. We’re proud of Maxine and her success and the role model she has been for other participants on their journey to independent living.