In early 2018, Jennifer Cole got a second chance at life. And she was not going to waste it.
Her 90 days of rehab at the Family Recovery Center in Oceanside gave her plenty of time to consider her next move. She didn’t have any friends or family in Oceanside, and her children were not in her custody at the time. Jennifer was completely alone and tempted to return to her old stomping grounds in San Diego.
“I really considered going home to San Diego where I knew I would have friends,” Jennifer said. “But the more I thought about it, the less I wanted to return to square one with the people and places that got me in this situation in the first place. I got to go through rehab and start over. So I should really start fresh.”
Over the months she spent at the Family Recovery Center, Jennifer watched construction crews build new apartments across the street. She wondered if those apartments could be a potential housing option for her when she finished rehab, so she asked the Family Recovery Center team about the new building.
They told Jennifer that the apartments were built by Solutions for Change, a program that could help her build a stable foundation for her life after rehab. Jennifer was all in.
“I applied to Solutions for Change right away,” Jennifer said. “I knew this was the fresh start I was looking for, and maybe a chance to reunify with my kids.”
Making a New Start at Solutions
Upon her release from the Family Recovery Center, Jennifer jumped right into Solutions Academy and spent 49 days immersed in training, classes and support groups. She pushed herself to adjust to an entirely new environment all on her own. Jennifer was by herself at Solutions Academy and had to build a support system from the ground up. Over time, she found friends and supporters who encouraged her to excel in every Solutions Academy activity.
Jennifer flew through the program in just a few months, even though some Solutions Academy classes really challenged her. She saw the challenges as opportunities to grow and ways to increase her chances of one day reuniting with her children.
“The job readiness class was especially tough for me,” Jennifer said. “I’m pretty shy, so I hate job interviews. They make me so nervous, but the Solutions team taught me how to get comfortable with interviews. I worked through my fears because I knew I needed to get employed to be with my kids.”
Learning, Rebuilding and Finding a Home at Oceanside
In her time as a Solutions Academy student, Jennifer’s confidence bloomed. She built a community of friends, learned new parenting skills and nailed an interview for a position at ActiveCare, a care facility for people with dementia. She got the job as a caretaker and finally moved into the Solutions for Change housing facility at Oceanside.
“I totally rebuilt my life and I was so proud of myself. Before Solutions, I had a bad track record of maintaining housing for my family, and my social worker was very hesitant to let me reunite with my kids,” Jennifer said. “But when she heard I was at Solutions for Change, she gave me a chance because she knew how good their programs are. Solutions for Change is the reason I have my kids back.”
Putting Down Roots and Looking Ahead Together
Jennifer and four of her kids have lived together at the Solutions Oceanside property for almost three years now. Jennifer has worked at ActiveCare and brought in enough income to keep their housing and provide for her family. Together, they sustain themselves and live happily.
“Before Solutions, I had nothing and no one. Now, I have my own place, my own family and the support of everyone at Solutions. I am so very blessed.”
Solutions for Change has programs and housing opportunities for anyone seeking to overcome their current situation. Reach out to learn how you can strengthen our community by supporting the organization’s critical work.