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Meet Shakiera

“I’ve been like the mom in my family to my five brothers and sisters – working since 18 to take care of everyone. Then I became an actual mom when I had my daughter.

“I never had job training or anything; I just got my first job and moved on to many more. From warehouse and cook positions during the day to an Uber driver at night, I was always the go-to person you could count on to get the job done.

“The problem was I didn’t have manager experience, and I wasn’t getting ahead in my career. I was already so unhappy with my jobs, and then the pandemic started and I was laid off. I knew I had to work, but I came to Cara because I felt stuck no matter where I went.

“My sister Corneisha joined Cara a couple of years ago and I saw how she kept developing and developing her career with Cara’s support, because at the time she was also working jobs but not really growing. She told me that I had to go to Cara – how supportive everyone is there.

She told me whatever I didn’t know, they would help me learn and grow.

“At first I was nervous, wondering whether I could live up to how everyone at Cara loves Corneisha. But from the beginning, it didn’t matter. I fit in because this is a community for all different types of people. When I went to virtual meetings I saw everybody was on different levels, but we were all trying to get to one goal. After realizing that I was like, ‘Okay, I love it here.’

“Cara staff stayed with me throughout my job search, especially the Manager of Placement Services, Elaine Ross. She pushed me to do things like mock interviews, saying ‘Too much prep is not enough prep. We want the best for you possible.’

“Early on, I would interview and interview, but I wouldn’t get any of the jobs.

I was so depressed, but everyone at Cara hyped me up, encouraging me to the point where there was no time to wallow.

“With this support system, I knew we were going to find a new opportunity for me: one where I could work with people every day. And then Cara told me about a supervisor position with their partner The Bazaar. They believed this was where I would finally be able to grow.

So I applied, interviewed, and was hired! I became the shift lead supervisor at The Bazaar’s store Bargains in a Box.

“I’ve always known I was a hard worker, but from the first week, everyone I worked with would tell me how much I was killing it. I thought they were just being nice because I was new, but managers would ask me questions assuming I was a manager.

By the end of my first month, our Vice President took notice and told me she was promoting me into a management position.

“I couldn’t believe I was being promoted. This must have been what all of the no’s from all of the prior interviews were building up to, and the first people I wanted to celebrate with were from Cara. I am becoming a manager and I am over the moon.

“I hope to be super successful in my career and in life. I’m going to learn, grow, take care of my family, and eventually, have my own house. I just want to be the best sister, mother, girlfriend…I just want my whole family to have a good life.”

Your support guarantees that people like Shakiera find a new beginning. From now until the end of June, your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar thanks to a generous $15,000 match from a member of our Cara community. Don’t miss the chance to double your impact and give a gift at www.caracollective.org/give.