2022 ES Graduate Spotlight: Kate

2022 ES Graduate Spotlight: Kate

Kate is one of the 12 graduates of the Economic Self-Sufficiency Program this year who will be honored at a Graduation dinner on April 20th.

Each ES graduate’s story is unique, and the support BCOC offers differs depending on a client’s background, skills, and experiences.  But at graduation, the one thing all ES clients have in common is the respect and appreciation they have for their coaches. Most client/coach teams have worked together for years — setting goals, celebrating successes along the way, and finally reaching the point where the client has moved from dependence to economic self-sufficiency.

“When I first met Kate, we hit it off really well,” her coach Michal recalls.  Kate was already motivated to get back on her feet and she wanted to be able to support her son. I always saw her potential; I was her biggest cheerleader.”

Kate credits her coach, Michal, with keeping her on track to reach the goals she had set: “I knew what she expected of me and I didn’t want to let her down. Having the support of the Opportunity Council was huge, and I didn’t want to waste their resources and the opportunities they provided for me.”

When she began the program, Kate already had an excellent work history in sales and automotive. But in 2014, an abusive relationship and a pregnancy rocked her world and led to “a few years in survival mode” as she describes it. As with many victims of domestic violence, Kate’s confidence in herself was shaken.

When she sought help from A Woman’s Place, the Bucks County nonprofit that provides free, confidential services to victims of domestic violence, she heard a talk by Karen, another BCOC client who had experienced domestic violence. “When Karen told her story, and credited BCOC for supporting her in so many ways, I was inspired to reach out.” Like so many ES graduates, Kate’s goal now is to pay it forward and help others by telling her story.

Kate also credits the “Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ By World” course offered by BCOC. The course connects ES clients with others in the program who support one another as they share stories and strategies for reaching their goals. “The Getting Ahead course was a game-changer for me,” Kate said. “It changed my way of thinking about my situation and what success means, and it helped me to re-frame my life.”

Kate decided that she wanted to work for a company that shared her values to pay it forward and help others. She is thrilled to be working at Houwzer, and especially with its RiseUp Program, which provides a path to home ownership for the underserved in the community.

She continued, “I am really happy at my job. It is a small start-up where I get to learn new things every day.” She is proud to be supporting her family and working at a company she loves.

The little free time Kate has is spent giving back. “I was lifted up with the help of Michal, Karen and BCOC, and I want to lift up others with me. Helping just one person can create a ripple effect that goes beyond what we can imagine.”