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
Ben has struggled with incarceration and homelessness, but has been working hard to get his life back on track. We were blessed to have him join the Would Works team both because of his strong work ethic and shop skills, and because of his contagious positivity, inspirational determination, and warm personality.
Denise is a Los Angeles native with a professional background in janitorial services. She was referred to Would Works by the employment specialists at Chrysalis who are helping her find more permanent stable employment. She came to Would works with the goal of paying off a debt of past due rent, so she can keep her housing while looking for work and supporting her son.
Ishmael speaks eloquently about the hardships of living on the streets and the restorative nature of having productive work. His goal is to pay his rent and bills for the month of December so that he can save up to visit his daughter and grandchildren in Colorado for Christmas.