Meet Carita – A powerful example of progress

Carita - final

We shared a bit of Carita’s story in our August e-newsletter. Since she’s such a powerful example of progress in our program, we thought her story was worth expanding – and updating!

Carita reflects that her life has been a whirlwind of ups and downs. Born in Chicago, she moved with her family to Miracle Valley, Arizona at the age of nine, spending her childhood there. At 15, she gave birth to twin boys; and at age 21, moved with them to California to embark on a 10-year career as a runway model. Wanting to raise the boys close to home, Carita gave up her modeling career and moved back to Arizona. There, she married and had a third child – a daughter. Since that time, she’s made a number of moves for different career opportunities, leading her across the country and back.

Carita’s life has always been exciting, but one thing she definitely could not predict was the day she became homeless. Losing the home she owned in Arizona due to a bankruptcy brought on by a devastating illness, she moved in with her daughter in South Florida.  She then headed for Kissimmee in June for a promising job opportunity. Upon arrival, Carita was shocked to learn that the position had been filled. With no other opportunities for income, she knew she needed help. The first week of July, she moved into the Coalition’s Center for Women and Families (CWF).

“I don’t look at myself as homeless right now. I have identification that says ‘resident’,” said Carita. ”I am overwhelmed with the kindness of all of the people who give their resources and time to provide that residency.”

She quickly enrolled in adult education and vocational training programs offered through our on-site partners. In less than two months, she completed a hospitality certification program and found a job at the Doubletree Suites by Hilton in the Walt Disney World Resort.

Carita is excited about her job and what she is learning about hospitality, which will help with her ultimate career goal. “Someday I want to run my own Bed and Breakfast,” she said.

Last week, Carita moved out of the CWF and into the Women’s Residential and Counseling Center (WRCC), our transitional program for single women and mothers with children.

“Being at WRCC will enable me to save money so I can fulfill my desire to own a Bed and Breakfast. I can also meet incredible women here. We can learn from and be a blessing to one another.”

Through the generosity of our supporters and her drive, Carita has a real chance to make that dream come true.