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Kisha finds the support needed to chase her dreams

Meet Kisha, a Cara participant who started her journey with us in June 2022 and is currently a Nursing Support Assistant at UChicago Medicine. In honor of #GivingTuesday, she shares her journey of overcoming her battle with addiction and pursuing her dreams.

A rough start

“Things have been hard for me since I can remember. I come from a family who suffers from drug abuse and addiction, and a mother who suffered from many mental illnesses. The same issues got to me eventually, and I was in and out of addiction for years.

“Getting a job was never a problem, but keeping a job was. The years of addiction caught up to me, and at one point I hit rock bottom. It got so bad that I could have died out there. I never knew where I was going to sleep, all my money went towards drugs, and so many of my relationships were broken.

“I just needed one person to point me in the right direction. I have a friend who would always encourage me to get my life together and seek help. After years of resisting any support, I said yes to joining a recovery home last year and finally got sober. This month will mark one year of sobriety.”

Next steps

“After I got sober, I knew the next step was getting a long-term job. I was referred to Cara through the recovery home I live in. I went through training at Cara and was so surprised by the amount of love and support. I’ve never felt so supported before. I never knew that there were resources like Cara out there.

“With the help of the team at Cara, my family, my sponsor, and the community in my recovery meetings, I had everything I needed to get on my feet. I got the confidence I needed to pursue a real job. I always knew I had it in me, I just needed Cara to bring it out.”

“I got the confidence I needed to pursue a real job. I always knew I had it in me, I just needed Cara to bring it out.”

Reaching for my goals

“I have a history as a CNA for ten years in nursing homes, but I’ve always wanted to work in a hospital setting. It’s been a dream of mine to become a nurse, but I never had access to an opportunity at a hospital. I told this to my coach at Cara, and they connected me to University of Chicago Medicine. I couldn’t believe I was being considered for a role like this. The very first position I interviewed for was a Nursing Support Assistant, and I got the job!

“I’m so grateful for a job like this, one where I can help people everyday when they’re feeling down. Whether they need their vitals checked, a hug, or just someone to talk to, I’m there for whatever they need. Working in this job has inspired and motivated me to eventually go back to school for a nursing degree.

“I’ve also noticed that I’ve inspired family members who are going through similar struggles. They admire me for what I’ve accomplished and are proud of me.

“If you told me five years ago that this is what I’d be doing, I would’ve never have believed it. I tell myself there’s a reason I made it past my addiction without dying, so I have to make the most of what I have and can’t take it for granted. I just take it day by day. I’m really proud of myself.”

Your support of Cara Collective is critical to furthering our mission of eradicating poverty and increasing access, equity, and opportunity. Please consider making a financial gift to support job seekers like Kisha. Thank you for your support!