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Formerly Homeless Women Graduate from Sacramento Job Readiness Program

Ja'Nel Johnson / Capital Public Radio

Robin Kelly-Duton (left) and Krisitina Calderon both graduated from Women's Empowerment job readiness program.

Ja'Nel Johnson / Capital Public Radio

Women's Empowerment, a non-profit that provides self-esteem courses, job training, health classes and support services to homeless women and their children, has graduated its 64th class of formerly homeless women from the organization's job readiness program.

Lisa Culp, executive director of Women's Empowerment, says the program was designed to help break the cycle of poverty.

"Really look at what the issues are that lead them to becoming homeless so that they can overcome these barriers and become productive, participating members of our community," Culp says.

Robin Kelly-Duton is a graduate of the eight-week program. She says she and her husband lost everything after his health began to fail in 2013.

"Before any of this happened, I had no idea what homelessness meant. I never experienced it before. I never had anyone in my family experience it...when it happened to me I was devastated," Kelly-Duton says.

Kristina Calderon also found herself participating in the program after moving back to Sacramento from Florida. She said she and her two children were living in her car and staying with friends soon after arriving.

"Wherever we could sleep, we would sleep. I was getting my daughter dressed in the bathroom a couple of times at a gas station, but I just kept pushing through every day coming here," Calderon says.

Kelly-Duton says the program has done wonders for her confidence.

"I'm on my way to getting a real estate assistant job and I'm very excited. I'm back at the college in a real estate degree program. I will have an internship in December and I'm hoping to get my broker's license and start my own business again. Very excited,"Kelly-Duton says.

Calderon says she hopes to return to the program and mentor future participants. 

"I feel really great. I feel really accomplished. I feel like I just came from with my face on the ground and now I'm standing 10 feet tall within eight weeks," Calderon says.

The program has assisted 1,349 homeless women since 2001.