A Life of Intention:
Alleen’s story

by Virgo Villajin, JIT Staff

“I have no intentions to grow, I do not recall knowing what ‘mental health’ consists of. I believe I have no self-compassion.” Alleen recalls her outlook on life before she joined the JIT community. Before entering foster care, Alleen remembered looking forward to holidays like Christmas, New Years, Thanksgivings and birthdays. However, becoming separated from her family and the death of her father when she was 12 negatively impacted the way she viewed those major milestones.

Soon, the detachment from holidays developed into an overall detachment in her life. Alleen shared, “I woke up one day feeling like a passenger in my own life, letting the days pass, the fears get worse, the trauma becoming an illness, and I felt like an outsider in my own world.” 

‘Fortunately for Alleen, an email to join Just in Time’s Career Horizons service arrived and she found an opportunity to get in the driver’s seat of her own life. Throughout the year, she connected with participants and coaches who were eager to support her on that journey. In addition to the emotional support and affirmations, she built new confidence by learning professional skills at the workshops. These are all traits that she’s excited to apply to her life. “I learned that I can still be professional and be myself; respecting my own values and being able to define them, humbly, powerfully, and authentically,” she shared.

Since joining Just in Time in 2017, Alleen has utilized many other JIT services. She’s received support with tangible needs such as learning how to budget through Financial Fitness, getting her driver’s license through Changing Lanes, and furnishing her apartment through My First Home. She’s shared that what stands out to her the most is the sense of community she’s built through services like Career Horizons for women’s empowerment and Rise to Resilience for emotional wellbeing.

Alleen has turned things around for herself with support from her community. “I look forward to the holidays as I know I won’t be alone. I will be with my Just in Time community looking forward to that amazing Thanksgiving dinner they provide for us. I made my Dad’s memory a motivation to ‘echarle ganas’ and never give up. I reframed my pain to motivation and beautiful memories.”

Alleen is currently enrolled at San Diego State University studying Criminal Justice and Psychology, with a dream to become a cybersecurity agent for the FBI. With support from a JIT volunteer Mark, who works for the FBI, Alleen in now the process of applying for an internship! We’re excited to stay connected with her as she gets closer to graduation and continues to grow her life with intention.