In 2011, Aster moved to Hampton, VA from Nashville to take care of her father who was having health problems. At the same time, she was going through a divorce and was struggling to make enough income to take care of her and her two girls. She was working multiple jobs with low pay and struggled to find affording stable housing. She and her girls turned to family members who could offer some space for brief periods of time until moving into a temporary shelter.
Aster realized she needed more than minimum wage jobs; she needed a career with opportunity to grow and provide for her and her family. She had always loved working with her hands and was accepted into an HVAC certification program at Thomas Nelson Community College. Through her career counselor she was introduced to Shelters to Shutters (S2S).
Aster’s S2S case manager was able to help her find employment as a Maintenance Tech with S2S partner Bonaventure Realty Group and a new property where she remains today.
“My favorite part about the job is the people. Being able to help residents and fix a problem for them is a great feeling. I want to make this my career. For any women thinking about this type of work I say don’t be intimidated and go for it. You will get a career out of it and it will benefit you in the long run. You will strengthen yourself mentally and physically.
Being homeless strengthens you in a lot of areas because you have hardships. It makes you want to work hard. When you put the work in you want to do better. That motivation, that determination, it’s all there… and all that hard work pays off in the end.
I am excited about my future because now I have a career and peace of mind.”