After two years of unsuccessfully searching for a job and struggling to create stability in her life, Krisha R. became one of the success stories of the iFoster Jobs Program for foster youth. A year ago, she completed a month‐long workforce readiness training program designed to address the unique needs and to overcome trauma triggers for foster youth. Upon completion, she was quickly matched, interviewed, and hired to be a courtesy clerk at a Ralph’s grocery store near her transitional housing. Fast forward a year, Krisha has earned three promotions and is earning upwards of $20/hour as a cashier at the same Ralph. For her first promotion, the President of Ralph’s Southern California surprised her by coming to her store and bestowing the promotion to her in front of her store family/team.
But, her trip to get to this point was filled with barriers and speed bumps. Krisha was adopted out of foster care shortly after her birth and was returned to kinship care when she turned 17 years old. Opting to participate in extended foster care, which is available to the age of 21 years in California, she struggled to find stability. According to Krisha, a referral by her transitional housing advocate to the iFoster Jobs Program made all the difference for her. It taught her what she needed to do to find a job, supported her through the job hunt and onboarding and continues to provide on‐going support to ensure her success.
Krista has found stability and a supportive support at Ralph’s that she previously lacked. When asked, she responds that she loves her job and her store. She commutes 1.5 hours on a bus to get to and from work rather than ask for a transfer to a store closer to her current housing. And, she reports that her life has changed completely, a “transformational change” as she calls it.
Krisha now advocates to other foster youth in the program about her experience both in the program and lessons learned on the first months on the job. She talks about learning patience from dealing with customers, how to be more organized so that she arrives to work on time, when she is scheduled. One of the biggest lessons for Krisha was to learn to embrace the word “yes.” Will you clean up that spill in aisle 10? Yes. Will you help this customer out to their car? Yes. Will you come in an hour earlier than scheduled? Yes.
She also sees a future for herself that includes becoming a children’s therapist and motivational speaker. She also plans on writing not one but three books. She has already started on her first book: The Bicycle Lane Era, a guide to help people set goals and stay in their lane. The premise is that walking one’s path on “a street is too fast, a sidewalk too slow,” but a person who stays in the bike lane has more control over their life and their goal achievement.
Her advice to other foster youth is this: find the dedication and ambition to make the best of it and find something on the job to enjoy every day.