Job Training Success Story - Freda Ann Johnson

A Journey of Self-Discovery
A Job Training Success Story

9615_0.jpgSuccess doesn’t look the same to everyone. Whereas one individual views success as 2.5 kids, a picket fence, a full-time job with a 4-door in the drive, someone else views success as simply being able to get out of bed in the morning. Success is relative. For Freda Ann Johnson, success was one week in our Job Readiness Class. For Freda Ann Johnson, success was discovering who Freda Ann Johnson is.

For over 10 years, Freda’s one purpose in life was being the primary caretaker for her adult and elderly family members. From the minute she woke up in the morning until the moment she went to sleep at night, her priority was the health and well-being of her ailing family members. Between the three of them, health concerns included heart disease, pulmonary disease, an aneurysm and long-term disability. She gave her all to their care and as a result lost herself in the process. As each of them eventually succumbed to their illnesses, Freda found herself alone, with no one to care for and no path ahead of her. That loss of purpose left her depressed and with no sense of self.

“I was taking care of my mom, my brother in-law and my sister. I’d been taking care of them and I wasn’t doing anything for myself,” Freda shared. “When everyone was gone I panicked… I actually panicked. I thought, ‘What am I going to do?'”

Although she lacked direction, Freda still maintained a relationship with her church. It was there that her friend Karen, a past Job Training Program graduate, shared with her information about BHH. Having such an affinity for helping people, it comes as no surprise that she pursued enrollment in our Home Health Aide (HHA) program. After being accepted, Freda began to see the clearer picture of what her new path in life looked like.

“I wasn’t doing anything for myself. When my friend told me about the classes here, I jumped at the chance,” Freda shared. “When I came here I was nervous… I was tongue tied, but I told myself I got to do what I need to do and start working again and start getting myself together.”

Despite her nerves in the beginning, Freda felt supported by her instructor Leah Toussaint and quickly bonded with her fellow classmates. Through that support she allowed herself to become vulnerable, share stories of past experiences and ultimately rediscover herself. She attributes a great deal of her self-discovery to Leah and the environment she creates through her lessons.

“I found my new identity. Leah brought out things I couldn’t get out – Ms. Leah brought everything out. When I came to the class, she made me realize that I had a lot of potential still in me,” said Freda. “I know myself now – I know the direction I’m going in now. I have a different outlook on life. I’m dealing with my ‘now’ and my future and it feels so good. I am so happy for myself and I’m proud - I’m standing so strong. I’m worthy of doing what I’m doing now… I am worthy.”

Freda carried that enthusiasm throughout her HHA training and quickly obtained her certification. She met with her Job Mentor, drafted a polished resume and submitted it to a friend who manages a Home Health Aide business. Since then Freda has written several letters of gratitude thanking the donors and contributors that support our Job Training Programs.

When we last spoke with Freda, she had recently undergone surgery. We’re pleased to share that she’s recovering nicely and excited to get back to work.

“I feel so good, you don’t even know! To give a person like me a chance to start over and help do better for myself… I really appreciate someone helping me,” Freda added. “I’m going to work, baby! They’re gonna see a new and improved Freda Johnson because I got my groove back and I love it!”

It’s true… success is relative. For Freda Ann Johnson, success was a journey of self-discovery and a future in a field she’s passionate about.