This year Karen’s two elementary-aged sons will not be the only ones going back to school. Armed with a green card and her newly minted Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), Karen will begin her new job as a school bus driver. While she has worked for the county’s transportation department as a bus monitor, she is excited to drive her own school bus.
Karen, originally from Guatemala, first came to Just Neighbors with her two sons. They were living in a domestic violence shelter. Undocumented at that time, she was unable to work. Without a job, she was not eligible for housing support from the many social services agencies in her county. With tears, she remembers that time in her life as very dark and hopeless. “I couldn’t even find a job,” Karen dejectedly shared.
At Just Neighbors, Karen learned she was eligible for legal status under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Just Neighbors’ attorney, Dominique Poirier helped her apply for status and obtain a work permit. With that work permit in hand, Karen and her two boys were able to move first into a safe house and ultimately into her own home.
Karen enthusiastically explained, “[Just Neighbors] was the best place for me to find. When things were dark, you gave me the help I needed, and I felt immediate relief. Had it not been for this help, I wouldn’t have been able to get out of the shelter and get a job. Now I have so many hopes! I look forward to visiting my family who I haven’t seen in 15 years.”
Happy New School year Karen and family!!