When Emmanuella first came to CFS, she was a shy nineteen-year old who had been living at Kings County Hospital for almost a year since she didn’t have a home to return to.

As our program staff got to know her, they saw that Emmanuella was smart, articulate, and ambitious. Her wish? Her own place one day. But she was nervous — about using public transportation, doing things on her own.

Karene Griffith, Assistant Director at CFS, said, “I figured the first step on that journey would be developing independence and skills. She pushed back and went kicking and screaming! But with constant encouragement, and challenging her to keep trying, she rose to the occasion and has ever since.”

Through CFS’s Supported Employment Program (SEMP), Emmanuella practiced interviewing, and prepared for a job. When a position opened at TJ Maxx, she aced the interview. She immediately acclimated to the job, and has learned everything in the store. 

She has been in our SEMP program for five years, and at TJ Maxx for four years. During the pandemic, Emmanuella remained consistent in her work, and in fact, has taken on many new duties. She handles accessories, makeup, shoes, and knows how to oversee all aspects of the store. 

As for living on her own: she’s on the journey. She has her own bedroom in a 2-bedroom apartment she shares with house mates. And she now laughs at her initial concerns! Adept with all public transportation, Emmanuella is completely confident and comfortable. We are so proud of her!