All the Little Things: Hanna’s story

by Rachel Trujillo

Growing up in a home with an abusive father, Hanna’s childhood was far from stable. She bounced around several homes, including family friends, her youth pastor, a foster home, and her biological mother’s home before emancipating from care. “It was just really messy,” Hanna described. 

When she was 19, Hanna was pursuing her education and was introduced to Just in Time through a school program. She was immediately connected to Career Horizons for Young Women. But she was still struggling with stable housing, so the Career Horizons coordinator at the time, Felicia, suggested she apply to Horizons House, which provided affordable housing for female JIT participants. 

“The housing was huge. I was super grateful to get into the house,” Hanna shared. “I had been living with someone who ended up being a drug dealer. It was a saving grace. Horizons House taught me a lot about myself and what I need to do on my own.” 

In her journey to work on herself, Hanna traveled to Florida and Arizona briefly before coming back to San Diego – and Just in Time – in April of this year. She reconnected with JIT, and specifically to staff member Sanam, who convinced her to join the Pathways to Financial Power service, where Hanna expanded her employment horizons. But she found much more support on her return to JIT.  

“I just got approved for a car loan with [JIT Auto Access Advisor] Cori. Basic Needs, with help from Shontá, helped me pay off my other car,” said Hanna. “Sanam has taught me so many life lessons. That I’m capable of setting boundaries. Every time I’m having anxiety, she’s there to reassure me. I can’t even begin to go into all the little things JIT has done for me.” 

Most recently, Hanna joined the JIT team as a work assistant, working with Sanam to support and enhance our employment services. She’s even using her experience to help plan the next Pathways cohort! 

“It’s great that I get to see things from both the participant and staff perspectives,” shared Hanna. “JIT values us not just as participants, but as people who can help others.”  

In the future, Hanna aspires to continue to help others as a children’s advocacy lawyer and we can’t wait to continue to support her along her journey!