The stories of the women we serve.

Featured , News , Women's Programs , Working Woman Wednesday | Oct 31, 2017 | Back to List

Caroline is a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault, and has a history of incarceration for drug-related crimes. For women coming from these circumstances, the road to stability can be fraught with U-turns.

To build work experience participants tend VWW’s vegetable garden.

To build work experience participants tend VWW’s vegetable garden.

Caroline first came to Vermont Works for Women in 2010 when she attended Transitional Jobs, the employment-readiness program that preceded Step In to Work. In 2016, Caroline returned, now clean and sober for 6 months and living in a homeless shelter. The fact that her previous experience led her to believe she would be welcome to return to VWW is evidence of the trusting relationship she developed.

Caroline completed Step In’s classroom and work experience components, and was ready to identify a job placement. She thought an administrative position with an organization doing social service work would be a good fit for her skills and interests. During Step In, she completed a portion of her work experience helping to tend VWW’s vegetable garden, and gleaning vegetables from the Intervale– she loved both tasks. Working with Step In staff, Caroline learned of an administrative

job opportunity at a small gardening non-profit within walking distance from the shelter that seemed like it could be a good fit. Caroline applied for the position, and the Step In job developer accompanied her to the interview.

Since she was hired in the summer of 2016, Caroline has remained in this position—recently completing a full year of employment there. She works 30 hours per week, and earns a livable wage. She is presently saving to find her own apartment. In February, the owner of the building where Caroline’s non-profit employer is located hired her to manage the building, giving her an additional 10 hours of work (and income) every week. She is approaching 2 years of sobriety, a source of excitement and pride. VWW continues to check in with her to offer encouragement and support. In a recent email exchange she wrote,

“Thank you so much for your support. I wouldn’t be where I am without the help I received!!


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