Jessenia Torres has always been a dreamer. When she moved into an Elm City Communities (ECC) property, she had aspirations to one day own a home, start a business, and even become a published author.
Torres had huge dreams, but no idea how to get them started.
It was then that an ECC employee told her about the different programs available to her and she was placed on a path that would dramatically alter her future.
“I was living there for a while but I didn’t know about all the programs,” Torres said. “I was in shock–I couldn’t believe her. I was like ‘oh my God this is a blessing.’”
Torres has been able to realize her dreams, through hard work, determination, and a little help from ECC. She has worked her way through Caring About Resident Economic Self-Sufficiency (CARES) and a computer course through ECC. Both programs directly helped her in major ways.
The CARES program gave her the tools to buy a house in North Haven and, eventually, start her own party planning business. The computer program she participated in not only gave her new skills but provided a free computer, which she then used to write a children’s book.
“I was able to buy a house and open a business and follow my dreams,” Torres said. “I don’t know how long it would have taken to achieve that without the CARES program.”
However, it wasn’t easy for Torres as she juggled the responsibilities of her bus driving job and her family.
“It was hard for me because I was working full-time and I was a single mom, but it was worth it,” she said.
This is just the beginning for Torres. She plans to write more books for children, relating the things she sees as a bus driver to teach kids life lessons. She also plans to enter the nonprofit arena to help kids in the New Haven area.
“My heart is still in New Haven,” Torres said. “So whatever I can do to help the kids in New Haven, I want to do.”
For more information about ECC/HANH or its programs visit elmcitycommunities.org