Frances came to the United States in 1997. She married, moved to Alabama, started her own business, and had three beautiful children. All seemed right. But Frances’ husband became controlling, physically abusive and lost all of her money in a bad business venture. To save her life and the lives of her children, Frances gave up her business and fled to Maryland to be near her sister.

She was starting over.

Frances worked two jobs to support her family, but couldn’t keep up with the rent. Eventually, Frances and her family were evicted from their apartment. In 2016, after living in a motel for a month, Frances and her children moved into an Interfaith Works (IW) affordable housing unit. A devoted mother committed to bettering her children’s lives, she immediately starting working with the IW Friends In Action family mentoring program.

Frances worked as a part-time nanny for various families, but aspired for a job with better pay and hours. Her IW case manager Katie referred her to the IW Vocational Program. She began working closely with Daisy, a vocational counselor, to upgrade her resume to reflect her great work experience. Daisy told her about a 90-hour Early Childhood Education course offered at the Gaithersburg Library. Frances was eager to take the course and earn a certificate that would allow her to work with children.

With the support of IW’s Vocational Tuition Assistance Program, Frances earned her Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, getting straight A’s! Armed with her new credential, Frances worked closely with Daisy to apply for better jobs.

Frances was offered a full-time position as a lead teacher at daycare center and now earns significantly more money to help support her family. She has more time to spend with her children and aspires to open her own child-care facility someday.