Today we’d like to introduce you to Tisha Janigian.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Tisha. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
In 2012, I got divorced and started my life over with no money, no credit, and no assets. I had to get on food stamps and wasn’t able to qualify for any other assistance. It was then that I realized the system was broken as it perpetuates people to stay on it and that there is a gap over poverty. I was unable to afford before and after school childcare, so I applied for part-time jobs but was told I was overqualified because I had a Bachelor’s degree. I finally landed a job for a few hours a week and my food stamp benefits went down to nothing and it would have made more sense for me to stay home and not pay for gas, car insurance, and the car but I knew I had to get out of the situation. I took as many side jobs as I could including babysitting, pet sitting, focus groups and I also got free things off of Craigslist and resold them in order to cover our basic living expenses. Even though I was embarrassed at the time, I shared what I was going through with moms at the elementary school my boys were attending and they helped me with many of these side jobs. I learned that it was important to speak up and that there are many good people out there willing to help! I started speaking to other single moms and found that this was a prevalent issue and decided to do something about it when I got on my feet.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has definitely not been a smooth road, but I wouldn’t change a thing because it helped me realize what problems need to be addressed and it gave me the strength to create all of this and help other single moms and their kids!
Please tell us about SHE IS HOPE LA.
Because a majority of single mothers are left with little or no credit, money or support, SHE IS HOPE LA will help bridge the gap that currently exists over poverty and give them a new hope, new direction and new purpose. SHE IS HOPE LA is different from other nonprofits because it focuses specifically on single mothers and gives them the tools they need to get back into the workplace to provide for themselves and their children and lets them know they are not alone! 32% of households in LA County are headed by women who on average make $0.84 for every $1.00 men earn. Statistics also show that 40% of children in LAUSD in poverty are children of single mothers. SHE IS HOPE LA is working on turning those numbers around!
SHE IS HOPE Realty is unique in that a percentage of every transaction goes back specifically to SHE IS HOPE LA to help single mothers get back on their feet, train single mothers and others who are interested in the field and actively looks for affordable housing opportunities.
SHE IS HOPE LA Thrift Store will be a thrift store accepting any and all donations and will have discount and dollar days to help those in need as that is how I started over – I went to a local thrift store on dollar days to purchase suitable interview attire and clothe my boys who were growing quickly. All of the profits will go back to SHE IS HOPE LA to continue programs to help single moms and their kids.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We will be opening SHE IS HOPE LA Thrift Store very soon and will help more single moms and their children by providing basics and job opportunities. Once we purchase the apartment building, the single moms who complete our 12-week curriculum will be offered a 1 to 2 year short term tenancy and assistance with childcare so they can rebuild their credit and self-confidence and become financially independent.
Our long term goal is to have the SHE IS HOPE LA programs grow into all major cities across the U.S.
Lady Lea Photography, Linda Kasian Photography