Tanesha is a woman of courage and determination.

Last summer, she moved her three young children—ages nine, four, and three—to Ithaca from Milwaukee to escape an abusive environment. Tanesha has always possessed a solid work ethic, often holding down two jobs at a time, but starting over in a brand new place meant that she needed some help connecting with local employment opportunities.

Acting on a referral from Tompkins County’s Department of Social Services, Tanesha enrolled in Challenge’s Job Club, a six-week program of intensive career exploration and hands-on job search assistance. At the end of the program, she landed a hosting position at Monks, an upscale cocktail bar and eatery in downtown Ithaca’s Marriott hotel.

According to Tanesha’s, DSS Facilitator/Job Developer, “Tanesha was a dedicated student who never gave up even though there were many obstacles in her way. She is a tenacious young woman with lots of heart, and she went through Job Club not only for herself but for her children.”

Tanesha’s new coworkers admire her tenacity and heart as well. Kate Clemons, a recently-hired server at Monks, says, “Tanesha and I haven’t been working together that long, but she’s quickly made a positive impact on my work environment. She always has a smile on her face, and her kindness extends to guests and colleagues alike.”

After a major upheaval and period of transition, Tanesha’s kids are acclimating very well, too—we learned that they even got to visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom this summer!

Looking back at all that this last year has brought, Tanesha sums it up this way: “If you’re scared, do it.”