An amazing honor to receive a letter from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recognizing LifeSTEPS on our 25th anniversary! Thank you, Speaker Pelosi, for your leadership and support, and for helping us celebrate this important milestone.
The oldest sibling in his family, LifeSTEPS resident David helps his mom by picking up his sister at school, running errands and shopping for groceries. His family cannot afford a car, so walking is his only option. Thanks to a generous gift from the Sierra Nevada High School Cycling Organization, David has a new mode of transportation – a bike! In addition to helping with errands, this gift will provide David with the physical and emotional benefits that having a bike brings. And with David looking for a full-time job, the new bike will help with his future commute.
Thanks to the California Community Reinvestment Corporation’s (CCRC) Bridging the Digital Divide program, 50 LifeSTEPS residents recently received tablets designed for seniors, also known as GrandPads. Our staff trained each senior to use the device, which will foster increased socialization opportunities, access to healthcare through telehealth services and online support from family and friends. Many older adults faced isolation during COVID-19, and we’re so thankful for Mary Kaiser and the CCRC for their partnership to help residents of affordable housing stay healthy and thrive through technology.
As a top 10 student in her high school with a 4.0 GPA, 18-year old Jena graduated with honors and dreams of becoming a nurse. With her sights set on higher education, she found herself passing up many opportunities for college scholarships due to her immigration status.
“Unfortunately, the pathway to nursing can be expensive, and without “papers,” I am unable to work or receive financial aid,” Jena told her Director of Social Services Maira at her affordable housing community in Woodlake, California.
Dreams of a better life
Jena’s mother brought her to the U.S. when she was six months old in hopes of giving her daughter a better life. Her mother faced many challenges, and Jena eventually moved in with her grandfather, who raised her and provided support and guidance throughout her childhood and teenage years.
“Now that I’ve graduated high school, there is nothing more that I wish to accomplish than getting my education in the medical field and becoming a nurse,” said Jena.
Maira sat down with Jena and together they made a plan to make Jena’s dream come true. Maira contacted a lawyer familiar with LifeSTEPS who agreed to work on her case. After a consultation at no cost to Jena, the lawyer confirmed that Jena qualifies for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). With critical financial assistance from LifeSTEPS, Jena will now apply for DACA status.
“Through DACA, Jena will obtain a legal social security number which will enable her to work and become financially independent, and also apply for financial aid and scholarships for college. This will open many doors and provide opportunities to help Jena achieve her goals and be self-sufficient,” said Maira.
Jena plans to give back by volunteering time at her local library and at future LifeSTEPS events.
Jena is known for being kind and loving to her neighbors and their children, and we’re thrilled that she plans to volunteer in LifeSTEPS’ after-school programs.
“I’m so thankful,” said Jena. “I can now pursue my dreams for a rewarding and successful life and career.”