Wesley, Yuma County

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“Wesley” came to my office as a homeless man with two small children ages five and six. He had arrived in town just the day before and the family was sleeping in his car. Wesley was trying to find a quick job so that he could find shelter for himself and his two small children. He was desperately applying at every business he could find. He was willing to do anything just to find work.

As I interviewed him that morning, he said, with tears in his eyes, "I feel like I have dipped to my lowest point that I have ever been in my adult life. Homeless, with my two small children, and no hope for a job." He told me how helpless and destitute he felt that day. We discussed his options and the possibility of getting him in to a program that I was recruiting for that would provide training locally for a Commercial Class A Driver’s License. That would provide him with additional opportunities that he would have never thought possible. Truck-driving jobs were plentiful in this area.

Wesley faced some challenges even with that opportunity because he did not have a valid driver's license. He left to get his license that very afternoon. He took his written test, only to have the DMV refuse to do his physical driving exam due to the fact he had a broken windshield. The cost to replace the windshield was $300, which he did not have, and so he sold some of his belongings and scheduled his replacement.

He found an affordable unfurnished apartment, and he and his two daughters made their home in an empty apartment for several days before donated furniture arrived at their door.

Wesley received his driver's license in time to start his four-week training. Immediately after he completed training, he went to work for a local company driving full-time for $20 an hour. He leaves for work at 8:00 am and gets off in time to meet his two little girls as they arrive from school.

Wesley walked in to my office on Tuesday of last week, and gave me his employment verification. I thanked and congratulated him, for meeting his goals, and as he turned to leave he stopped and turned back to me with tears streaming down his face and said, "I do not know what I would have done without your help, I never dreamed I would ever be able to make this kind of money. I have hope and I feel like I can make a life for me and my girls.”

He wanted to make sure I told his story, so that others who feel like their situations are hopeless can find hope like he did.

- Grant Smith, Yuma County case manager

September 2015