It’s not often when life throws you a curve ball that you catch it, but thanks to the staff and friends I have made at East Valley Family Services the single player (mother) has a whole team now. In the year of 2014 I was working for the Stratosphere Casino and Hotel in food service. I loved that job and showed up every day. “I never had to fake it till I make it” there, because I was doing what I love and as the old saying goes “if you do what you love you never work a day in your life”. But my health problems were no match for my passionate career and as always the verdict was unanimous, I was given my walking papers and became jobless yet again. Doing the penniless weeks of being unemployed my bills were piling up like dirty laundry and my food status was falling short of 1 ½ meals a day. Not letting my unemployment status collect lint I job searched daily and even decided to go to employment enhancement services that teach hands on job skills. I manage to get 3 interviews, but not the job. I began to lose hope and felt as if I was not going to recover from this hardship this time. Reaching out to my neighbor’s one of them being a very prestigious Judge tried to help me, but having selfish pride I declined knowing I needed the help. I called 211 and went to every program they had on the list for help with rent and utilities, but No’s ricochet from lips to walls and then my ears. Two days before my lights were supposed to be cut off I got a call from a lady name Jamie Perez-Cruz who claimed that she might be able to help me. The next morning I met and sat with Mrs. Jamie for nearly two hours as she explained the program to me. After listening and understanding the programs outlook I was more than elated to sign up. I agreed to Mrs. Perez-Cruz terms, but not just wanting to take a hand out I asked her to agree to some of my terms too. I believe no one should take finical from anyone unless you earned it. So I explained that if I couldn’t earn my keep or pay it forward then I couldn’t accept her offer. So I ask her how I could become a Volunteer. I filled out the papers and made the choice to offer my services even while being a part of the CCC program. We both agreed to each other’s terms and were looking forward to the contracted partnership to a brighter future of self-sufficiency. I attended all the CCC Classes, workshops and training that Mrs. Jamie set up for us weekly. I love those classes and the connections I made with other people were amazing. At the end of the 10 weeks they have a graduation ceremony/pot luck, they are so much fun and you get a diploma of completion. EVFS makes you feel like you are somebody no matter what you circumstances are, you’re more than hardships and unemployment slips. Doing my time with EVFS I have obtained 2 jobs, supportive services and became a part of a family. Keeping my promise I became a weekly volunteer, shadowing Mrs. Jamie doing her startup of other CCC Classes. I can tell you that every class and every word did not fall on deaf ears, everything I learned I shared with many friends, distant family members and my daughter who decide to venture out and live on her own. I have learned to save money, how to smart shop on foods and miscellaneous purchases, to be proactive in seeking and obtaining employment and to be the best of you, because it’s the reflections other will see. I’m so thankful to Ms. Alicia and Leah Guevara for building such a team at EVFS. EVFS has helped me and my family by offering the CCC program, other supportive services, and putting me in connections with Mrs. Jamie and the team. There is no way I can repay the love and blessing you all have offered me…except I pay it forward. I so hope this program stay around for a long time it’s the heart of our community. Thank you EVFS!


Yolanda ParvathamReddy aka Yolie




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