Francesca came to Growing Home to find a job and support her family.
The mother of seven had been working temporary jobs for nearly ten years while raising her kids, and was ready to return to permanent employment. But her lack of experience held her back. She saw Growing Home as an opportunity to gain experience and get her foot in the door. “I felt like I was at a standstill for a long time. It was time to get a fresh start.”
Francesca believed that getting a job was an important part of being a good mom. “It starts at home,” she explains, “I had a lot of things that deterred me when I was a teenager. I want my kids to see me out here working so they can be motivated to do the same thing. I want them to be excited when they get up, go to school in the morning, get their education.”
Now, after completing Growing Home’s job training program, Francesca works at Kitchfix as a part-time Dishwasher. “I feel happy when I get up and go to work,” she says. “I’m hoping that I can move up. I’m focused on a career, instead of just having a job. I want something I can grow with.”
Francesca knew that she needed a job to be the mom she wanted to be, but Growing Home’s program influenced her role as a parent in other, surprising ways. “Coming to the farm was a totally different experience,” she said. “Being able to see where food comes from and seeing it from start to finish, I was like wow, this really is cool. We planted these seeds and now they’re grown.”
After harvesting the vegetables cultivated under her care, Francesca brought them home to her kids. “You know kids, they want to snack on potato chips, candy, cookies, and stuff like that. I’m like, no! We’re gonna cut these cucumbers and carrots up. We’re gonna make pickles and eat something healthy… And they liked it!” Francesca was surprised at how proud her kids were to eat the vegetables their mom worked so hard to grow.
While Francesca had always cooked at home, she was limited by the ingredients she could find. “I’d go to the corner store and I couldn’t even get a vegetable. That’s ridiculous.”
Growing Home gave her access to all kinds of fresh produce, and helped her add new ingredients to her family’s dinners. “They introduced me to different things that my mother didn’t cook like kale, squash, and zucchini,” Francesca explains. Now, she’s excited to try new recipes and keep her kids on a healthy diet.
Francesca is grateful for what Growing Home has done for the health and happiness of her family, and she’s motivated to keep moving forward. “There’s still a lot of things I want to accomplish, for me and for my kids,” she says. “And I really appreciate what Growing Home’s done. It’s a stepping stone to get me to where I’m trying to be.”