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Patricia, Cara Collective #EssentialMom and staff member, on her journey from student to teacher

“When I came to Cara as a student in 2005, I was in recovery, having reached six months of sobriety.  I was in an outpatient program where I met someone going through Cara, and I jumped at the opportunity to join, too.

“Cara was instrumental in my life from the start. All the way through Transformations training, I was completely engaged, even bringing our tradition of Motivations home with me. I’m a mom of four, and so my kids and I would get up and have our own Motivations before we started our day, which helped me understand how they were feeling – what was going on in their lives.

“Six months later, and with Cara’s help, I secured a position at a law firm and worked there for nearly two years before Cara called and offered me a position on their Admissions Team. Honestly, I was a little nervous, because I knew the transformative impact that Cara had on my life, and I wanted to make sure that I could be that person for someone else.

“While transitioning from student to staff member, I learned just how much Cara means it when we tell participants we care, that we got them. Because as a staff member, you can only do this type of work if you care.

“I’ve worked at Cara now for more than 13 years, the last three as our Supportive Services Resource Coordinator, connecting job seekers with resources to get on their path out of homelessness, domestic violence, and poverty.

“My role as a mom has helped me all throughout my career, especially when coaching other moms. So often moms are caught between a rock and a hard place, wanting to work but not having childcare. I get it because of my own experience and because my kids and grandkids are my world. Everything that I do is about them, and it doesn’t matter how old they get.

“I believe in the power of change; I believe in people. That’s why my work is very important to me, and I’ve grown and changed, too. When I came to Cara, I only had six months of sobriety, and now I have 16 years. I’m a certified drug and alcohol counselor and recently earned my bachelor’s degree. I set a good example for my kids and grandkids.”