Opportunity Junction's counseling filled me with hope, joy, and optimism.

Maria AcostaWith a strong work history and a love for lifelong learning, Maria Acosta was stunned to find herself among the 2.4 million Californians out of work by April due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After a couple weeks at home, she knew she wanted to get back to work.

"I was feeling really stressed out about my living situation and about COVID-19. Staying at home for even a short time was making me feel depressed. A Contra Costa County Navigator connected me to SparkPoint." Maria shares.

Opportunity Junction has been a service partner of SparkPoint Contra Costa for ten years providing one-on-one career services and wrap around support for clients looking to reach financial sustainability. Maria utilized financial and credit coaching remotely, and then connected with Opportunity Junction's career counselor, Dionne Moeller.

"Job-searching while in shelter-in-place is very stressful. I passed on the first job opportunity because the employer didn't share my values. I didn't want to be treated as just a number. I was starting to regret my decision and doubt myself when Dionne told me, 'If you didn't feel comfortable there, honor those feelings. We will keep working to find an employer that will value you as a human being.'

"Dionne's counseling filled me with hope, joy and optimism. I felt like an onion and Dionne helped me peel back every misconception I had looking for a new job. I was afraid employers wouldn't want me because of how I looked or because of my accent. Dionne helped me embrace who I am and carry that through my job search.

"I was able to focus and create a better system for job searching. In a few short weeks, I had another two job offers! I chose the position with the most opportunity for growth with an employer who respected me.

"I am so thankful to Dionne and to Opportunity Junction. It was a blessing to find this service in the middle of COVID at exactly the right time. I was a little bird and Dionne helped heal my broken wing. She helped me carry the weight until I could carry it myself."