What was your life like/tell us about yourself?
My name is Shimar Russell, and I am a single mother of 3 beautiful children. I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona in a single-parent household which was in a low-income community. My mother always strived for the better and worked many hours to care for my 5 siblings and me, which led to us learning how to cook and become self-sufficient at a young age. Throughout my youth, I made some decisions that impacted my education and resulted in me not obtaining a high school diploma. Despite this barrier, I always maintained employment and utilized my cooking skills as an entrepreneurial venture to earn extra money.
My focus is raising my children and becoming financially stable, I never really pursued going back to school and when I would entertain the thought of it, I backed down by telling myself it was too late. In June 2018 my family experienced a tragedy that forever changed my life. My mother’s only son, my big brother, was murdered. My brother’s death impacted me in multiple ways and surfaced the reality that tomorrow is not promised to anyone. After learning to cope with grief and navigate life without my brother, I knew I needed to get my life on track, and I was motivated to go back to school. I enrolled in GED courses with a goal in mind not to stop until I am a Registered Nurse with a BSN. I am in the final portion of the GED program and have faith that I will pass my test on March 13, 2023, and receive my GED before Graduation on May 12, 2023 as well as several other certificates, for example, my MAA for the back office and Front office. I want to set an example for my children as they are my greatest motivation and knowing every day that I have an opportunity to better my future one step at a time makes me more motivated. I have put in so much time, and effort, and knocked down barriers sent to deter me. I am determined to succeed and break the generational cycle in my family of no college graduates.
What happened that brought you to St. Joseph the Worker?
I was laid off from my previous employment at Carvana along with 35,000 others which caused me to have to start over and look for employment again. At first, I had no clue where to begin. Then I had been seeking employment consistently at The Goodwill Career Center and came across a flyer that a career coach by the name of Jessica Damper had provided me and advised that I should reach out regarding assistance with some type of temporary or permanent employment. So, I contacted Daren, and he was eager to assist me. I scheduled an appointment with Partners Personnel and was hired immediately later that day. Daren then advised St. Joseph the Worker could assist with a $50 gas card and supplied a $100 Walmart gift Card to get my Steel toed boots and a few work items.
I started on June 27, 2022, with Honeywell Making $17.50 hourly. I was so thankful to be receiving a check on a weekly basis, and my hours were Monday-Friday between 6:00 A.M.–2:30 P.M. Unfortunately, several months after I had to step down from my position at Honeywell due to being a single mother and needing to take some time to assist with my son’s IEP Meetings and getting my daughter in a stable school where I had some support. Fast forwarding to today I am in a great position where I’m secure in a position at Bank of America making great money and earning a salary of 45,498.00 yearly. Once again Daren, Othniel, and St. Joseph the Worker’s family helped me again with another Gas card to make it to my first week of Training along with another $100.00 Walmart gift card to get a week’s worth of work clothes. Not to mention the following 30 days after I also received my final gas card when providing my first 2 pay stubs.
What does our help mean to you?
This help means so much to me because we are all human and sometimes face financial barriers or run into different roadblocks. I was down on my luck at the time and St. Joseph the Workers believed in me and assisted me, which may not be an issue to some, but to others like me, this could hinder a single mother from making it to an orientation or a new job. It is so important for anyone in a bind and needing assistance with certain things in order to start a job or career. Just know there are great programs like St. Joseph the Workers that will assist with gas cards, work clothes, and shoes. I just want you all to know that you play a huge role in my success today.
What do the next few years look like for you?
The next few years look like this to me first, obtaining my GED Math test by 3/13/2023. Graduating with my GED class as well as several other certificates on May 12, 2023, with honors. I am currently 1 year into my Associate’s program at Rio Salado Community College and plan on furthering my education when completing the Adult ACE program in mid-August of 2024. So, by that time, I’ll be starting my journey toward my Registered Nursing Degree. I am determined to reach my goals and continue to apply for Scholarships to help support my journey of furthering my education. With my employer, my goal is to work my way to a Team Lead and then transfer into a Proficiency Coach.
Anything else you’d like to tell us?
I’m determined to achieve my goals and want everyone to know it’s never too late to attain your dreams.