The new year is a time of new beginnings and for one woman in Lodi, it’s a completely different start to how she kicked off the previous year.
In 2017, Jessica Hernandez, was evicted from her place in Stockton and was left homeless.
"It's a hard journey and it's tough but it does get easier. It does feel like a roller coaster, but I just stay positive and not give up."
The single mother of four stayed at hotels, and even her van before finding out about the Lodi House, a shelter for homeless women and children that helps families get back on their feet.
Hernandez is starting 2018 with a lot of hope, as she juggles two part-time jobs while she saves up for her own place.
With help from the Lodi House, Hernandez was able to get a second job at the Michael David Winery as a dishwasher, and also moved into the non-profit’s transitional housing program.
"I'm doing it for my family – that's the main thing. You have to work hard and you feel more rewarded when you work harder," Hernandez said.
Hernandez says she’s extremely grateful for the resources and opportunities the staff at the Lodi House gave her during a time she’d lost all hope.
"It was genuine. The belief was genuine, it wasn't to make me feel better. It was from the heart, like you've got this and I was like, ok I really do," adds Hernandez.
While the journey is still tough for Hernandez, she doesn't plan on stopping her quest for a brighter future for her and her family. She plans on taking on another challenge.
"I want to go back to school because my passion is nursing," Hernandez said.
Shereen Hays, the assistant director at the Lodi House, says it’s stories of resilience like Hernandez’s that keep her and the staff going.
"I knew when I started this job that I would be rewarded by the women getting back on their feet, but I had no idea the kind of community support we would have. 65 percent of our funding comes from community donations, so that's pretty amazing," Hays explained.
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