Magdelena came to Would Works through our employment partners at the amazing Downtown Women's Center
(DTWC). She is a participating artist in the successful social enterprise run by DTWC called Made by DTWC
and is known for her skilled crocheting. In addition to her work at Would Works and DTWC, Magdelena is taking daily classes towards getting her GED. Her drive is inspiring to us all, as is her story.
Magdelena had a difficult childhood in Guatemala full of abuse and conflict. When she got older she decided she had had enough and moved to the US. Settling originally in Sacramento, she went to the Belmont School to learn ESL and worked as a seamstress. While in Sacramento she met her husband and raised their four kids.
Her fourth and last pregnancy was a difficult and painful one and revealed scars of a buried and traumatic past. During the C-section the doctor noticed there was something wrong with her liver. After the child was safely born the doctor removed a portion of her liver with two bullets lodged in it. When questioned about when she was shot she couldn't remember. But after some time memories came back to her Guatemalan childhood where she remembers being shot while at school. Everyone was so scared and didn't want to cause trouble she said. So we can only assume she was treated by family and friends.
Magdalena and her husband eventually divorced and her life started to go downhill. She moved to LA where she was homeless and lived on the streets. At first all she had was a blanket which was loaned to her by another woman experiencing homelessness. Eventually she got a tent and that's where she spent her first cold winter.
'That tent saved my life' she says.
Eventually she was connected to permanent housing at the DTWC--which she loves! She's been there for five years now and things are going well.
At Would Works, Magdelena is working towards housing expenses and transportation costs to see her children for the holidays. We are thankful for all her hard work and are rooting for her to reach all of her goals in life!
Also in Our Artisans
“I had a rough life growing up,” Elizabeth explains. She battled addiction for 20 years, did 4 prison terms and was arrested 63 times. But, she's grateful to the people who believed in her and gave her a second (and third) chance. Now housed and a decade into sobriety, Elizabeth came to Would Works to pay her rent and to find community.
In 2016 Marella lost her job, and when her husband fell ill, she stayed home to care for him. Ultimately, she lost her home and found herself living on the streets. Marella's Would Works goal is to pay her phone bill and buy winter clothes. Then she plans to buy a laptop and print resumes for job applications.
Shirley is the bedrock of the Would Works shop. She has been part of the program for over two years during which time she quickly established herself as the expert sander new artisans go to for guidance. Shirley first came to Would Works to pay off storage bills, and she has since found stable housing and an unexpected love of wood working.