Lisa’s Story

Lisa is a 34 year old single mother with 4  children, of which 2, she is currently raising;  ages 6 (girl), and 4 (boy). A Bay Area Native, Lisa decided to flee an abusive relationship with no family to turn to and without available open positions in local shelters. As a result, Lisa made the decision to live in her car with her two children.  During this time, Lisa found a residential recovery program and after completion, took up residence in a short-term homeless shelter.  At the end of her shelter program, Lisa was referred to us by Michelle Lazaneo, Bart Chief of Police Community Liaison, who is a supporter of our reuse enterprise.  Lisa applied to our Single Moms at Work Program and was successfully hired as a Customer Service I and offered 24 months of housing. To date, over the past 12 months, as a result of the Single Moms at Work on-the-job training, housing and wrap around services, Lisa has made significant accomplishments include the recent celebration of 16 months of sobriety; the completion of 6 months of on-the-job training with increased wages at our enterprise; twelve months of safe stabilized housing for her and her 2 children and completed registration in a High School Diploma completion program.

2019 Program Participant

Christina’s Story:

Christina is a single mother of one child, 2 years of age.  A graduate of the Single Moms at Work Program, she came to uu as a non-violent ex-offender with a past heavy with regret as a former young female gang member and on public assistance.  With a strong desire to change, after losing her job at a major supermarket chain and facing chronic unemployment due to her offense, Christina was hired as a Customer Service Associate at the urban stores and warehouse through uu’s partnership with Alameda County Social Services CalWorks Department.  Christina is currently learning all three enterprises, obtaining critical retail and inventory skills and polishing her soft skills. When asked how she liked working at the stores at the end of her shift one evening, Christina stated, “I love it here.  This is the first time I’ve been around positive women.  I don’t have any positive women around me.  I watch the women here all of the time because I want to learn how to be like them.”

2017 Program Participant


Danita’s Story

Danita is an African-American single mother of one child, age 7. She came to uu homeless and was placed at the urban stores through a referral from First Place for Youth. Her internship helped her gain new skills and self-esteem. After completing her internship, Danita was hired as a Customer Service Associate in 2013. In 2014, and promoted to Customer Service Associate II. Thanks to her participation in Single Moms at Work, Danita is completely off of welfare, her child is in daycare and they are both in housing. “I’ve changed. I’m not the same person. I’m more confident. I now know what steps I need to take to have a better life and career.”

Danita, age 21, 2015, program graduate Oakland resident