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Maritza finds pride in building a career for herself

Meet Maritza, a Cara participant who started her journey with us in September 2020 and is currently an Associate Banker at BMO Harris Bank. In honor of #GivingTuesday, she shares how she became motivated to find self-sufficiency and build a career in banking.

Searching for self-sufficiency

“Before I started at Cara, I relied heavily on Medicaid and others to support me. I was feeling unmotivated, I doubted myself. I knew that I was ready to do something more.

“I was just making ends meet. I felt unhappy with where I was at. I wanted to be self-sufficient, so I started looking into options that could help me grow.”

Inspired and supported

“I first heard about Cara when I was watching the news, and there was a segment about Cleanslate on ABC7 Chicago. I thought the program sounded amazing and I was very inspired by the stories they were sharing. Years later, I was referred to Cara through Instituto Del Progreso Latino, a program that works to educate and develop Latino youth that come from immigrant families.

“My experience at Cara was magnificent. I’ve never been through a more organized program. You can tell everyone there really focuses on each individual person. They really want to see you succeed by giving you all the tools you need to stay motivated: a coach, therapy, mock interviews, professional clothing, rent assistance. I made sure to use all of the resources, they were extremely helpful.

“The professional clothing I received helped me feel more confident in myself and the one-time rental-assistance helped so much. I was also so impressed that I was able to do mock interviews with top executives from companies around Chicago. It really prepared me for the real world.

I could not be happier with the experience, they set me up to be successful even after I left the program.”

“Cara really prepared me for the real world. I could not be happier with the experience, they set me up to be successful even after I left the program.”

Successful and ready to grow

“Today, I’m not only able to help myself, but my community. I see Cara as such a blessing. I would love the chance to motivate other participants going through the program.”

“Through Cara, I was placed in a position with BMO Harris Bank. I feel like I actually have a chance to build a whole career. I love my job and the people I get to interact with. I’ve received great feedback from customer surveys and from upper management. It makes me happy that I can help my community through my work.

“I know if I keep working hard, I can grow even more. I would love to manage a team, and prove that I can be a great leader. I would love to be someone other people can rely on.”

This season, 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 this #GivingTuesday to support job seekers like Maritza. Thank you for your support!