Stories of Transformation

Stories of Transformation

A Journey of Restoration and Self-Expression

June 15, 2021 | Comments Off on A Journey of Restoration and Self-Expression

‘My Life Is New’

April 28, 2021 | Comments Off on ‘My Life Is New’

‘MHALA Came Through for Me’

February 19, 2021 | Comments Off on ‘MHALA Came Through for Me’

‘2020 Was My Year’

December 18, 2020 | Comments Off on ‘2020 Was My Year’

‘The Skills I Learned Helped My Mom and I Get Jobs’

November 25, 2020 | Comments Off on ‘The Skills I Learned Helped My Mom and I Get Jobs’

‘I Did Everything Myself — But They Helped’

July 27, 2020 | Comments Off on ‘I Did Everything Myself — But They Helped’

‘I Am Focused on Getting My Life in Order’

June 24, 2020 | Comments Off on ‘I Am Focused on Getting My Life in Order’

‘TAY Has Helped Me Come Out of My Shell’

May 12, 2020 | Comments Off on ‘TAY Has Helped Me Come Out of My Shell’

‘I Took My Weakness and Made it a Strength’

March 25, 2020 | Comments Off on ‘I Took My Weakness and Made it a Strength’

‘This Is Where My Miracle Happened’

March 20, 2020 | Comments Off on ‘This Is Where My Miracle Happened’

‘I Am Focused on Getting My Life in Order’

Areanna became homeless in 2016. She bounced around friends’ homes for some time; later, she lived in her car and in a shelter in the Antelope Valley. It was at the shelter that she learned about MHALA’s Transition-age Youth program.

She arrived at the TAY program in Lancaster with nowhere to live and no job. Her TAY team began by finding her a room in which to stay for a few months. During that time, Areanna received her training for her guard card — the certification needed to be able to work as a registered security guard in the state of California.

Areanna was worried about having to drive to get a security job. Through MHALA’s contract with a local driving school, she was able to build her confidence behind the wheel.

“It’s not just about what TAY can do for you,” she says. “It took my hard work as well. You have to get a job. You have to help yourself.”

Areanna transitioned from staying in a motel room with TAY’s assistance to getting her own one-bedroom apartment that she shares with her boyfriend. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, she was able to secure two jobs — one at a grocery store and one with a security company.

“I’ve been really persistent,” she says. “My whole mindset is, now that I’m here, don’t get comfortable. Go for more. I am focused on getting my life in order.”

Her TAY team, she adds, always reminded her to be responsible. “Tay helped me to stay motivated,” she explains. “I would ask about credit, apartments, jobs … they would always teach me to be responsible, persistent, patient. I learned to have a positive outlook on things even if they don’t always go your way.”

After getting guidance from a TAY education specialist, Areanna decided to apply for college. She hopes to begin in the fall.

“My goal is to one day work for MHALA doing peer advocacy,” she says. “I want to be able to help others the same way I was helped.”

Known in TAY for her positive demeanor, drive, and determination, Areanna received the 2019 Student of the Year award at MHALA’s Golden Bell Awards in the Antelope Valley.