Tara is a warm and friendly person with a smile that never seems to end. She loves to make jokes and poke fun. That’s how you know she likes you!
It’s hard to imagine that just a few months ago Tara was shy and reserved, wary of new people. This is just one of the many goals Tara has worked on with her life coaches, Rebecca and Briana, through ACHIEVA’s “A Home of My Own” program. When she began the program, Tara was working in a clothing store that kept cutting her hours. What began as three days a week turned into two days, and then just one day a week. With a dream of having her own apartment, she knew she needed a change. That’s when she developed a plan with “A Home of My Own” staff. Working together, they created a plan to ensure that Tara was ready to live safely and independently.
Tara had a fear of fire and heat, which kept her from preparing her own meals. With hard work and determination, Tara not only prepares her own meals but enjoys her time in the kitchen. Recently she learned how to make one of her favorites – French toast. Tara boasts, “I thought it was hard at first, but it is easy now.”
In addition to honing her skills in the kitchen, Tara is also part of ACHIEVA’s “Money Club,” a peer group where participants learn about saving money and maintaining a budget. Homework assignments include saving receipts and sales ads. Through various activities, participants and staff share their ideas and learn from one another. Reaching goal after goal, Tara has gained confidence and has become a stronger advocate for herself. Part of the team helping Tara with her goals is her Supports Broker, KayLynn, who reflects on how far she has come in such a short time. “I have seen a huge positive change in the young lady that I met back in January or February.” Tara is quick to point out, “I wouldn’t even talk to her!” KayLynn laughs in agreement; remembering the Tara she met was very shy and had no confidence. Today, she is anything but shy!
Part of Tara’s new confidence also comes from having a new job that she loves. Her new job fits perfectly with her love of fashion!
Tara is beginning to look at apartments, hoping to find the perfect one to call home. She wants to find a place close to her mother and her job, and already has a vision of how her dream apartment will look. Her wish list includes a deck or a porch, a nice kitchen, a pool and shopping nearby. For décor, Tara is considering yellow and gray, or peach and white for the living room, and pink and purple for the bedroom.
As Tara prepares to take the next step on her journey, she is taking on a big sister role by mentoring the young women who look up to her. She tells them they need to do the work if they want to reach their goals. “I’ve been working on my goals,” Tara says. “Now it’s time to pack my bags!”