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ROSS & FSS Program Success Stories (April 2022)

ROSS Clients: Maria S. and Husband, Jesus L., are a family of 9, husband, wife, and 7 children who age in range from 7 to 22 years. Maria and Jesus both achieved their GED Certificate's through the SER Jobs for Progress Program, which provides free GED education and testing for farm working families.

Jesus had worked for over 5 years in the farming fields to support his family, before obtaining his GED. Since then, he's left field labor behind, and with his GED has been able to obtain employment with a local construction company. This has resulted in tremendous improvement to his working conditions, household income, and the quality of life for his family.

After wife Maria obtained her GED, she's been determined to make a difference in the lives of families with disabled children. And although she's very busy working to raise the family, her next goal is to enroll in Community College and pursue her early childhood studies in special education, since 2 of their 7 children are themselves disabled, they completely understand the importance of receiving good quality childcare and a strong educational foundation.

ROSS Clients: Maria and Jesus in their Graduation Caps & Gowns!

Maria. S headshotJesus L. in a cap and gown

ROSS Client: Jema R., a 35-year-old single mom of 3 children, ages 15, 14, and 9 years old. The family moved into Public Housing in 2019. At that time, Jema was a field worker who only hoped to complete her high school education as a former drop out. Through the ROSS Program, Jema enrolled in SER Jobs for Progress and successfully completed her GED. With her GED in hand, she was able to obtain employment with a Tax & Bookkeeping agency, thereby increasing her wages, job conditions and the quality of life for herself and her young family.

ROSS Client: Martha L., is currently attending GED classes through SER Jobs for Progress. As a result of a disabling condition, her husband was no longer able to work, so Martha decided to enroll in school to get her GED in order to obtain employment and improve the family finances. She is close to GED completion, and only needs to pass the remaining math portion in order to graduate. Martha is in constant communication with the ROSS Service Coordinator for guidance, advice, and support to continue her path toward self-sufficiency.

ROSS Clients & Sisters: Jasmin M. and Gricel M., started volunteering at the onsite Public Housing food distribution through the Foodbank, as well as the Picnic in the Park Youth Lunch Program during the summer months. They both were referred, enrolled, and completed the Youth Job Training Program provided by the Goodwill Workforce partnership, and received their food handling certificates, job placement during the summer, and assistance with their FAFSA applications. Now, Jasmin is attending Fresno State University pursuing a BA in Criminology. Gricel graduates HS this year and has been accepted into Fresno State University to pursue her BA in Psychology. They are first generation college students. Their Public Housing parents both work in the fields, and now that their children are college students, they are planning to go back to school and get their own GED's!!

ROSS Clients and Sisters: Jasmin and Gricel working with the Picnic in the Park Food Distributions at the ROSS Services Center.

children receiving summer lunchesBags of lunches on a table

ROSS Client: Manuel M., completed the Youth Job Training Program through the Goodwill Workforce and received job placement during the summer months. He then enrolled in Community College in pursuit of his degree in Biology. His mom, Maria M. also obtained her GED Certificate through the SER Jobs for Progress Program provided onsite. Both Maria and Manuel have been active volunteers at the onsite food distributions provided in partnership through the Foodbank, as well as regular attendees at Resident Meetings, and other special events. provided in their community.

ROSS Clients: Manuel volunteering at a PH Food Distribution, and his Mom Maria in Graduation Cap & Gown

Individuals giving out food and an individual in a cap and gown

ROSS Client: Teresa M., graduated the ROSS Program by becoming a homeowner. Teresa and her husband, Agustin M., actively attended services provided on site such as Mental Health Support Groups, Resident Meetings, Financial Education by EconAlliance, ESL classes, and online homeownership education by VCCDC. They started getting ready for homeownership by attending financial education workshops provided onsite and started saving for their down payment. Agustin first became familiar with the ROSS program by volunteering at the food distribution, enrolled in ROSS and started attending the education workshops and ESL classes onsite. They moved from Public Housing to homeownership in 2021. Even though they are not ROSS participants anymore, they keep in touch with the ROSS Coordinator since they are very grateful for the assistance given during their PH tenancy.

ROSS Client: Teresa with her Certificates of Completion – and our newest ROSS Homeowner!!

Individual holding certificates

FSS Participant: Wesley B., and his wife are a family of 6, husband, wife and 4 children. Wesley signed up for the FSS program in 2016 with the final goal of obtaining his Certificate in Drug and Alcohol Counseling/Addiction Studies.

When he began the FSS program his family was receiving Cash Aid assistance, and his wife was working at Super Cuts hair salon. During his time on the FSS Program he enrolled at Allan Hancock Community College, (AHC), working towards his goal of obtaining his Certificate. His wife began working for CALM-a non-profit in Santa Barbara County that specializes in the prevention and treatment of childhood trauma. Wesley began on the Job Training with the Department of Social Services-County of Santa Barbara leading him to be hired at CALM as a Home Visitor, before being promoted to Child Family Specialist.

By December 2019, he had earned his Certificate in Drug and Alcohol Counseling/Addiction Studies from AHC and was offered a Case Worker position with Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness. He graduated from the FSS Program in May of 2020, a year earlier than planned, and with their substantial FSS Escrow account, the family used it toward the purchase of their first family home.