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CWEE Impact

Featured Participant Highlight

Alazia is a 25 year old single mother of two young daughters. She came to CWEE after a difficult separation from her youngest daughter’s father. Alazia was working a demanding schedule and was unable to afford childcare, transportation and housing after her separation. Alazia was attending community college, working part-time at Catholic Charities and attending CWEE’s classes. She was determined to lift her family out of poverty and become self-sufficient. CWEE assisted her with resources to get back on her feet. She completed all requirements and was a very positive role model to other participants. In her time with Catholic Charities, she shined and was promoted to Human Resources Administrative Assistant. Alazia is now working full-time.

Alazia won CWEE’s 2015 Outstanding Alumna Award at the Annual Luncheon for excelling in CWEE’s program. In her acceptance speech, she said, “There is no way I would be where I am now if it wasn’t for CWEE’s help and support. As a single parent, there are days when I truly struggle, but this award means the world to me because it means I’m on the right path.”


CWEE Success Stories

My name is Elaina, I am the mother of two beautiful children, and pregnant with my 3rd. This year has been one of the hardest years of my life. I can't remember a time where everything seemed so hopeless. I felt like I had no one to turn to, no more options. I began attending CWEE and I'll be honest, I had my doubts and was skeptical. I attended my first class with a teacher whose name is Zenzal. I walked in and sat down and the minute she laid her eyes on me and spoke, I knew CWEE would be an experience I would not regret. She reached me on a level deeper than anyone I've met. Almost as if she was able to see right through me, through everyone. She was genuine in every way. In her class we focused on figuring out who we were, our values and the things that held us back. She made every single person feel important and heard.

My name is Earnest Denney. I am a 31-year-old, single father of three wonderful boys. I’m my mother’s second child; I also have siblings from my mom’s second marriage, giving me a total of four brothers. When I was in high school I dropped out, thinking if I could just get a job I would be able to get my own place and start my own family. I worked for eight years and my life went down a hard road. I ended up not knowing where my future was going, as well as asking for help to pay for rent and bills. During this time, I depended on my Mom for help with all my expenses, giving her a burden she did not deserve. I realized that I had two choices: either to continue being a burden or to become a thinker who analyzes and solves my own problems. I went with the second choice.

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    I started at the Community College of Aurora in the summer of 2012. When I started, my goals were to gain an Associate’s degree so that I could transfer to a four-year university and to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, becoming a juvenile probation officer.


    These goals are almost complete. On May 9th, of 2015, I graduated and received my degree. My long-term goal is to become a founder of a juvenile halfway house. The halfway house would help correct wrong behavior before the juveniles become adults and enter into the adult prison system. If I do complete these goals I will be the first to do so in my family. I believe doing this work is the best way to add to the healthiness of my community and to give back to it.


    Joining CWEE has been a blessing. CWEE has helped me with financial coaching and purchasing my cap and gown for graduation. CWEE has also helped me in many other ways while I’ve been in pursuit of my goals. CWEE is not only been an encouragement, but it is also a tool that I can use in my quest on becoming a self-sufficient father.

Bridget Sidner was first referred to CWEE in November 2012.  At that time, Bridget had recently completed a one year substance abuse treatment program after being released from prison where she served four years.  Bridget’s background includes a substance abuse addiction for twenty years and an extensive criminal history, including six felonies, which were a result of her addiction.  Bridget had maintained her sobriety throughout prison and after completing treatment, she regained custody of her five-year old son whom she had not seen since he was 5 months old.  Bridget who was in her 40’s at that time, had only maintained one job in her life which was for three months as a telemarketer.  Bridget supported herself and her addiction as a drug dealer and was fearful of how to obtain employment without a work history and her criminal background.  Bridget participated in CWEE’s job readiness classes to learn more about herself and her career interests.  She was able to secure employment at a discount auto glass company but wasn’t able to keep the job due to not meeting the sales quota.  Bridget was very discouraged and unfortunately her TANF case closed for several months so she lost her childcare assistance and was unable to continue with CWEE’s program.

Paula Trujillo began working with CWEE November, 2012. At that time her three children were 13 years, 9 years and 2 months. Her goal was to become employed doing administrative work so that she and her children could support themselves, independently of public assistance.  She began taking classes with CWEE as means to meet that goal. Initially, outside factors made attending CWEE difficult. Paula’s case manager helped her with housing, transportation, and even assisted her in obtaining childcare so that she could attend CWEE classes consistently. She began working with CWEE’s employment services, building her resume, cover letter and other skills needed for employment. Simultaneously, Paula worked in CWEE’s computer lab, gaining multiple certifications in Microsoft Office programs.