Starting Fresh: Zellastein’s Leap of Faith into Solutions for Change

Zellastein Mitchell was finally free of addiction. Her seven months in rehab gave her seven months sober for the first time in years. With a clear head, life felt new.

A world of opportunity opened up to Zellastein. Outside the constraints of addiction, she could build a healthy, sustainable, happy life for herself and her two children.

“I wanted to completely start fresh,” Zellastein said. “If I was going to thrive, I knew I needed a new environment. But I also knew I had a lot to learn.”

Through rehab, Zellastein learned about Solutions for Change, a program that could give her the skills to successfully start an independent life. The Solutions for Change center in Vista was also 40 miles away from home—exactly the new environment she needed to shake off old habits.

So with a leap of faith, Zellastein took her children and left her hometown. She was ready to exchange the addiction, dysfunction and instability that plagued her for years for the community, growth and joy that Solutions could bring.

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Right off the bat, Solutions threw Zellastein into real life as a responsible working parent.

“I came in with no idea how to be a parent, but I was ready to learn,” Zellastein said. “So when I struggled to find childcare in my first weeks at Solutions, my coaches guided me through the process. I couldn’t work until my kids had a place to go during the day, and I had to work to care for them. Solutions helped me along, but they also made the stakes of life as a parent very clear.”

Once Zellastein and Solutions figured out her childcare situation, she dove right into work and learning. During the day, she participated in work training to develop her skills as a reliable employee and strong teammate. And during her breaks and evenings, Zellastein took parenting and financial classes to further prepare her for life on her own.

The work training on Solutions Farms stuck out to Zellastein in particular as the ideal way to introduce her and other residents to a positive, rewarding workplace.

“On the farm, you have to work together and hold yourself accountable to being really precise,” Zellastein said. “And when the plants grow healthy, your work pays off right away. It’s honestly empowering.”

Through her years in Solutions Academy, Zellastein built herself into a responsible working adult and wonderful parent. She found a community of uplifting people, and proudly watched as they all pulled themselves out of The Churn of addiction and homelessness.

“All the Solutions employees practiced true servant leadership,” Zellastein said. “They gave so much of themselves for the sake of helping others, and that kindness is infectious. The residents start to pick up these servant leadership habits, and the goodness just goes from there.”

Soon after her graduation from Solutions Academy, Zellastein found employment cleaning hotels. She was working, living independently and providing for her kids. That life worked well for her, but she was still on the lookout for another challenge to tackle. The power of servant leadership stuck with Zellastein, and she was driven by the desire to give back.

July 2020 rolled around, and Solutions for Change called Zellastein to offer her the servant leadership opportunity she was searching for. They asked her to join the Empowerment Coaching team, and she gladly accepted.

Now, Zellastein empowers fellow Overcomers alongside the coaches who once guided her.

“The peer-to-peer nature of Solutions’ coaching is life changing on both sides,” Zellastein said. “The coaches have real empathy for our clients because we have experienced their struggles firsthand. That perspective lets us develop trust and connection with clients that gives them freedom to talk out the root causes of their problems without any fear of judgement. It’s freeing for everyone.”

As an Empowerment Coach, Zellastein works to show clients that they are worth trust and worth a chance at a better life. She leads her clients as living proof that their lives can completely change for the better.

“My Empowerment Coach once told me that I can treat life like a whiteboard,” Zellastein said. “I always have the power to erase it and start fresh. Now I tell my clients the same thing. Starting your life over takes courage, but Solutions makes sure you don’t have to face it alone.”