Porsha Hogg’s ego was at an all-time low. After months of job hunting, the 27-year-old single mother was unable to find employment. She had taken a break from her English studies at Cal State University, Los Angeles to support her infant son. However despite sending out hundreds of applications, she rarely got a call back.
“I felt hopeless,” she said. She became anxious and depressed, sometimes unable to even get out of bed. “I tried to keep on going, but I doubted myself,” she recalled.
A year and a half ago, she was referred to Hillsides Family Resource Center in Pomona. Hillsides and Bienvenidos Family Resource Centers provide a wide variety of services to clients, and one program is CalWORKS, a statewide program to help people in need find work. There, Porsha was assigned to Hillsides CalWORKS therapist Natalia Hughes. The two began to explore some of Porsha’s mental barriers to employments and how to tackle them.
“Natalia was a breath of fresh air,” said Porsha. “She listened to me and didn’t judge me. She made me really think about what I wanted to do in life and how to go get it.”
At Hillsides, Porsha also participated in art therapy with Connie Cruz, a mental health rehabilitation specialist. Porsha created a vision collage of her dreams and goals “that was transformational and really opening my eyes to who I am deep down inside and who I can be,” said Porsha.
In addition, she received career counseling from employment specialist Cristian Martinez. Christian gave Porsha resume advice, led her through mock interviews, and helped Porsha narrow down her focus to the hotel industry, which Porsha thought would give her flexibility, a stable salary and a potential to move up. Armed with a concrete career goal, new confidence and a revised resume, Porsha began getting calls back from potential employers. Within a month, she landed a job at a Holiday Inn at first a desk clerk, and now a night auditor.
In the past year and a half she’s been working, she has been able to support her son and saved up enough money to buy her first car -- a 2015 Honda Electra. She hopes to move up the career ladder at the hotel with an eye on one day being a hotel manager.
“Hillsides has changed my life,” said Porsha. “It’s one of those places that is too good to be true, but it really is that good.”