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Two individuals standing in front of a red door with a sign that says New Hope Housing

In Summer 2023, Teresa was excited to share her story and her hope for a brighter future. Teresa was working hard with New Hope Housing’s Operation Stream Shield program multiple days a week and had just landed a job with United Airlines. Although she was working hard and planning for the future, she had not yet found a place to call her own and move out of Kennedy Shelter.

She is proud to share, though, that she moved into a home of her own in December 2023! She moved into a one-bedroom apartment in a nice neighborhood. She has a balcony and community at the apartment complex. There’s a garden and an area that kids play in. The neighbors are friendly and look out for each other. She’s excited to have a place of her own that her children and grandchildren can come and stay at when they visit.

Teresa has not lost the drive that she had when she was working with the Operation Stream Shield program. Her drive, motivation, and hard work helped her land a full-time contracting job with Norman, Co. doing similar work with Fairfax County. That contracting job has the potential to turn into a full-time position with Fairfax County.

Working with the OSS program helped her learn how to love her job and the work that she does. She was able to learn about the water stream, plants, and trees. She enjoys helping the environment and making the community a better place to live. Eventually, she’d like to build a vivarium to have in her apartment with different insects, animals, and fish. “I love it. It’s like a rainforest. It’s cool because you get to see life happen.”

One of Teresa’s long-term goals is still to build a drop-in center or shelter for people that are experiencing homelessness or addiction. “I have a little pot. Every time I get paid, I put in $100. I refuse to touch it because I want to see if I can do it and I want to give back and help.” Teresa previously was a recovery coach, working with clients diagnosed with substance abuse and addiction problems. She wants to eventually earn her certifications so that she can become a coach again and design a recovery program of her own.

Although Teresa has left Kennedy Shelter, she still thinks about the staff that helped her and took an interest in seeing her succeed. Sometimes, it felt like she had lost all hope, but shelter staff stepped in and saw that she was doing the work. They helped her put people around her that helped lift her up and helped her succeed. They helped her address her mental health. “I recognized my own dreams and what I can accomplish.” She admitted that she still has days that she struggles, but she thinks about her long-term goals and dreams, and she says to herself, “Let me set something up so that I can win; not so that I can fail. It’s not just for me, if I win, everybody wins. I want to leave a legacy for my children and grandchildren.”

Teresa still remembers working with her career coach at Deloitte’s Impact Day and the confidence that they helped inspire in herself and to know that she can accomplish her dreams, despite the setbacks and hardships she has faced. We are so glad that Teresa now has a safe place to call home and a place to see those dreams come true.