Luz C. — Moving Toward a Brighter Future

Luz C., one of Pine Street Inn’s iCater trainees, originally became homeless in 2019. Due to unsafe electrical conditions, she had to leave the Florida apartment that she had been living in with her two young children.

"When they kicked me and my kids out of our apartment, I had no place to go,” Luz says. “We ended up living under a bridge for a while and then in a shelter for seven months. Eventually, I decided to move to Boston to live with my mother."

Luz, who has a learning disability and suffers from anxiety, turned to the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) for help. "I was looking for ways to make a better life for my family,” Luz says. “I learned about Pine Street’s iCater job training program from MRC. They also help me with childcare expenses so I can go to work."

Now in her sixth week of training, Luz loves the program and the new skills she has been learning. "The people I’m training with and the instructors are amazing. We learn about kitchen skills, but it’s so much more. We also have classes in life skills, meditation, budgeting and managing our finances. It’s a path to a future," Luz says.

"I’m very shy. One of the reasons that I was interested in the iCater program is that I thought it would help me overcome my anxiety," Luz says. "I’ve learned who I am as a person and have gained self-confidence since coming here."

Luz has also turned what she’s learning through iCater into a way to connect with her daughter. "Every day when I come home, my daughter asks me what I learned," Luz says. "Now, we cook together, and I teach her some of the techniques I was taught in class. I want to be a role model for her and show her that things can get better with hard work."

Luz’s hard work has paid off! She will be among the class of those graduating from Pine Street’s food services and housekeeping job training programs this June.

"I’m so grateful to Pine Street for everything that I’ve learned," Luz says. "I’m excited for my future and I want to take what I’ve learned here and work in a high-end steakhouse or seafood restaurant. Eventually, who knows, maybe I’ll open my own restaurant one day."