"I came to Boston many years ago to attend school. I went to Northeastern for Elementary Education and liked Boston, so I stayed. My passion was teaching and I taught for a while, but there weren’t very many teaching jobs available back then. I needed to work and ended up getting a job in a restaurant and stayed with that for many years.

Along the way, I got married and had two children, and then divorced. Like so many kids, mine begged for a dog, so we got Coco. As time went on, people in my neighborhood asked me to watch their dogs, and I realized that I could turn that into work, which allowed me to leave the restaurant. I started walking dogs and training them in my back yard, full time. Being able to create my own business was a great feeling.

As time went by, my health declined and I couldn’t work anymore. My kids took over my business, and unfortunately, we had a falling out. I couldn’t afford my rent, lost my housing, and ended up at the Women’s Inn. As my health began to improve, I enrolled in Pine Street’s iCater job training program and worked in the kitchen, while continuing to stay at the Women's Inn.

Finally, three years ago, a housing placement specialist at Pine Street helped me find housing and I’ve been here ever since. I’m so thankful to have my apartment, especially with everything going on during the COVID-19 pandemic. I have everything I need here, and I don’t have to leave except to get groceries. I have a friend in the building and we cook every day. Being quarantined hasn’t changed my routine, because I know I have the security of being able to stay safe inside my apartment."