Ilka’s Life Story
“My name is Ilka Rosales. I was released from prison on June 4, 2019, after serving 25 years for a crime I
committed in 1993. My parents worked a lot to provide for my younger siblings and me so with learning that quiet
behavior and not always having my parents to talk to I became a stuffer and developed abandonment issues. That
caused me to become an angry child who threw tantrums and did anything to get the attention of family and
friends. With having abandonment issues, I learned how to manipulate to be seen and get the attention of my
I was not heard, so I felt unsafe and I started fighting back and ended up fighting and getting suspended a lot
at school. As I got older, I was angry and became insecure thinking that I was not good enough or loved. I
became a bully in the years to come. When I was 14, my cousin was molested by a family friend, and the
individual was never arrested. My attitude was further fueled because I believed police weren’t doing their job.
From then on, I carried a gun everywhere I went. Sadly, this didn’t prevent me from being raped one night too.
I was a teen out of control and began a downward spiral. I got involved in gangs, street racing, drinking, and
getting high. I enjoyed violence; it felt good to be bad and it seemed like everything was great being part of
my gang until one of the guys raped my friend’s 12-year-old little sister. After that our gang had a meeting,
and we decided to take matters into our own hands resulting in the death of that young man.
I served 25 years and it took 20 of those years for me to finally decide that I wanted to change. After my
grandmother’s death and my mom getting sick I started to realize the damage I did and how much I just wanted to
be with my family. I met Ms. Phyllis from TFCF a few months before I was released when she would visit the
prison every month. Because of her, TFCF accepted me into their Positive Futures project and single women’s
shelter. I was so relieved with their support, after serving 25 years I was afraid of what society would be like
and had anxiety on a new life in the free world, but TFCF was there to guide me every step of the way.
After being incarcerated for so long I did not realize that I was institutionalized. TFCF supported me with no
attachments and helped me learn how to be free. They understand what it feels like being incarcerated and know
exactly what I needed. Throughout my discomforts, outbursts, trials and tribulation, and character defects TFCF
continued to lovingly support and guide me. I have been able to receive one-on-one therapy, get 24-hour care
when it comes to my needs or questions, and best of all they have provided me with a safe, stable, healthy place
I’m also grateful for the Positive Futures program. Without it, I would have never gotten the opportunity to
come to Time for Change. This program is non-biased or judgmental with their clients, and they still remain in
your life and check in after you leave. What I love the most is the fact that they are such strong advocates for
injustices. They do not sit back and talk, they DO, and they continue to do! Without help and support, a
successful reentry into society is almost near impossible. The list is endless, but the main support that I have
received is and will always be the most valuable: moral, emotional, physical, spiritual, and loving support.”
Eileen, a mother of three came to Time for Change Foundation in September 2019 after being homeless. At age 35,
she never expected to be bouncing from home to home just to have a place to sleep. She also never thought she
would lose her children due to drug addiction. Her 2 older children lived with their father, and her
five-year-old daughter was in foster care. Drug addiction
intensified and toxic behaviors with it. “I lost my job, and I needed to make some money, so I started doing
what I could to survive.”
In September 2019, Eileen entered Time for Change Foundation and on October 1, 2019, Eileen reunited with her
daughter at the San Diego Courthouse! She brought her daughter home to our Sweet Dreams shelter the same day of
her hearing. “My daughter could not stop kissing me and was all over me that day, I cried tears of joy because
now we have a place we can call home!”
Since coming to Time for Change Foundation Eileen has learned the meaning of stability. Having a home to come to
daily has made all the difference in her life and has helped her maintain her sobriety.
“For the first time, I am doing things that I never thought of doing. My little one is happy and stable, going
to school and spending quality time with a mother that loves her. I now believe in second chances and this would
not be possible without Time for Change Foundation!”
Angie was born into a dysfunctional family. When she was four years old, she started being molested by her
mother’s boyfriend. This went on for years until her father was granted custody of her. When Angie was twenty-
two, she had her first child. Her life was looking up. She had her own place, a job, a car, and was
self-sufficient. Seven years later, she had her second child and then was introduced to methamphetamine.
She was using drugs until she was six months pregnant with her third child. Then continued back on it right
after she was born. That is when her life started spiraling out of control. She lost her apartment, went to
jail, and lost visitation with her children altogether.
After being released she was able to regain custody of her children but had nowhere to go, they moved in with
her uncle, who ended up molesting her son. Her only choice was to move in with another family member, who was a
drug dealer. Although Angie wanted a better life for her kids, it only got worse. Her addiction and her life had
gotten out of control.
Nothing changed until her oldest daughter came to her and begged her to stop. She pleaded that she wanted her
mother back! That is when she realized it was time to change. In August 2019 Angie made the call to Time for
Change Foundation and was immediately accepted. She and her three kids packed what they had and came to San
Bernardino from Fresno.
Angie now has 9 months clean and sober. Since coming to TFCF she and her children are happy and healthy, getting
all the resources they need to heal from their past. Having stable housing has made all the difference in her
children’s’ lives. Her oldest daughter Talaya got all A’s and one B on her recent report card and has been able
to focus on being a teenager. Once again, Angie is the mother that her kids remember. She is a leader, a role
model, and a positive member of society. She is accomplishing her goals one day at a time and is on the road to
self-sufficiency once again!
Brighter Futures: Carde’s Success
Carde Taylor was released from prison on March 20, 2019, after doing over 20 years. She went to Crossroads
International Program in San Diego for seven months then transitioned to the Bay Area after being offered a
position with Young Women’s Freedom Center in Oakland, CA. Moving to a completely different city on the opposite
side of the state was a scary thought, but after serving so many years in prison with convictions on your
record, not being able to find a good job is worse!
Carde came to Time for Change Foundation’s (TFCF) Brighter Futures home on October 1, 2019, making it possible
for her to have a successful transition. Her goals are to enroll in online computer classes in the following
semester and to save enough to have a place of her own, further her education and continue to build stronger
Since being with TFCF Carde has been consistent with working towards her goals. Currently, she is a certified
AOD Counselor and is counseling youth in her chosen field. Carde’s knowledge and skills in counseling has also
helped her be supportive of the other women at Brighter Futures and in the community.
Carde has expressed that Brighter Futures has made it possible for her to have a job, if it were not for Time
for Change she would not have a home!
Released from incarceration in June of 2020, Amber was driven to find a better way of life, but was unsure of
where to start. On her acceptance into Time For Change Foundation, she eagerly completed program classes such as
Financial Literacy, Entrepreneur Mindset, and Employment Development. With her newfound knowledge on budgeting
and saving, she was able to improve her credit score, and buy herself a car. Amber learned to craft a resume,
and cover letter. Her hard work and eagerness to improve herself led to TFCF offering her a position as a Peer
Mentor, working with our clients to encourage their growth. “If I can do it, you can do it to!”
Despite her childhood of poverty, and being witness to alcoholism, a biology degree and nursing assistant
position rose LaShana towards success. LaShana came to Time For Change Foundation after a gambling addiction,
and schizoaffective disorder disrupted her life. Diagnosed in 2015, sudden homelessness and unemployment made
her attempts to recieve treatment and medication difficult. The stress of her predicament, and the inability to
attain stable housing created a cycle, where her efforts to improve her life would trigger mental health
episodes, collapsing the progress she had made. After being hospitalized, and therefore medicated, she was
advised to reach out to Time For Change Foundation. With mental health counseling, and the drive to make a
better life for herself, Lashana is taking things one day at a time, developing healthy methods for coping with
her mental health, and looking forward to the future.
The pandemic has impacted my family in a very simple way, loss of work hours. We have tried our best to work as
much as possible to make ends meet, but there have been moments where we’ve come up short, and recently, our
rent has been one of them. We are asking for help because we feel that we have no other choice, there is no way
we could not complete the remaining half of the rent. I am currently not working due to a coworker who tested
positive for COVID. My being near them was enough to be sent home to quarantine, without pay. We really
appreciate the help we’ve gotten in these hard times.
Bianca began abusing drugs at age 24. Coming from a home where her parents used, it wasn’t long before she began
to follow in their footsteps. The consequences were swift. She lost her job, her home and became unstable,
throwing every moment away in addiction. Ultimately, addiction led to her being homeless for 5 years and seeing
her life deteriorate. Irresponsibility led her to miss court dates, medical appointments, and unable to provide
for her children. After going through this cycle for so many years, Bianca knew it was time for change. She came
to Time for Change Foundation in July 2021 determined to leave the past behind her. She and her two daughters,
ages three and one, were provided with safe, stable housing where Bianca can bathe her children and provide them
with three meals a day. She has been assigned a case manager who works with her daily on her self-sufficiency
plan. “At Time for Change [Foundation] I’ve been able to get organized and take the steps my life needed.”
Bianca shares that she wants to be independent, showing her children a different, healthier lifestyle. Most
importantly, Bianca aims to be a sober mother, who loves and takes care her children. She thanks TFCF for the
support, “I have a closet and drawers to put my clothes in. I hadn’t had that in five years, clothes of my own
to put away. That’s structure. This is the most support I’ve had in years, our lives are just better!” After
being at TFCF’s Sweet Dreams shelter, Bianca has successfully completed parenting, has continued to maintain her
sobriety, and has recently gained employment. She has come a long way and the best is yet to come!
Rosanna is very grateful for the impact Time for Change Foundation has had on her life. Thinking back on how she
got here, she remembers being a kid always excelling in academics. For her, school was a means of escape from
the drugs and violence that consumed her household. The daily abuse from her mother and father led her to
alcohol at 12, a discovery she learned, helped to numb the physical and emotional pain. At 14 she was introduced
to Methamphetamine, and weekend use soon turned to everyday addiction. By 16 she was pregnant, kicked out of her
parent’s home, and living in an abusive relationship. At age 18 she got married in Las Vegas and gave birth to
her daughter two days later. The image of a happy family was more important for the young Rosanna than the
reality of her circumstance. While the abusive life she was experiencing at home intensified, she continued her
escape through education, graduating summa cum laude and going on to work in the medical industry. One morning,
after a night of heavy drinking she rushed to work while still intoxicated. Losing control of her car she rolled
six times before walking from the vehicle unharmed. During the resulting 2-year prison sentence a series of life
changing events occurred.
Upon arrival to federal prison, she found out she was 2 weeks pregnant. Then her husband took her 6-year-old
daughter and moved to Mexico, losing all contact with her. Devastated, she
would give birth to her second daughter while incarcerated, allowing her family to take custody to prevent her
entering the system. When released, Rosanna found herself cycling back into
incarceration due to drug use. Her children went into their father’s custody, and ultimately into CPS due to his
own addictions. After her last time in jail Rosanna decided she was ready for change. Reaching out to Time For
Change Foundation she was determined to get her life back on track. “They [TFCF] made it easy, I just had to do
Rosanna entered into Time for Change’s Mt. View shelter in June 2021 where she participated in educational
classes, 12-step recovery, and has learned the life skills needed to reach self-sufficiency. After only a month,
Rosanna gained full-time employment and has opened up a savings. She enjoys her new job and shares, “it’s an
honest living. It feels good to be needed, I’m part of a team and we all work together. It boosts my
confidence.” On October 29th Rosanna moved into her very own apartment after only four months of entering our
program! She now has a home to bring her children to where they can reunite and be the family she always dreamed
of. “I am on top of the world, I didn’t think I’d be able to come so far in such little time. The only way I was
able to make this transition and apply my goals into action was because of Time for Change [Foundation].”
Jessica received her second DUI in January of 2021. At the time she and her son were homeless, “couch surfing”
she calls it, place to place and if lucky, motel to motel. She even left California for a time in 2020, just for
the opportunity for shelter. She was in such a warped mindset at the time that she couldn’t seem to catch her
breath. The stress of her life and a lack of planning or goal setting led from bad decisions to worse decisions.
The January DUI was a revelation for her, as while detained at West Valley she came to terms with her
alcoholism. She was behind bars, clueless as to the whereabouts of her son, and extremely worried about him.
Later she would find out of his entry to the child welfare system, as a ward of the state of California. After
leaving jail in February, she hit the ground running. She knew she had made terrible mistakes but was more
concerned with the effects said mistakes would have on her son. She knew that in the system his safety and
security were on the line. She completed inpatient rehab at Gibson House, but not before three more visits to
West Valley Detention Center. Her alcoholism was a battle, and confusion over her circumstance led to loss of
emotional control and rage.
Jessica entered TFCF on August 1, 2021 with the goal of controlling these feelings, her addiction, and her rage.
After cycling in and out of jail, unable to control her emotions, and coming to the realization that all that
mattered was getting her son back, she set goals for herself and is working to let go of the guilt, and pain
inside her. Her favorite class is Women’s Wellness, as she wants to learn to be better to herself. This is a
very important aspect of her recovery that she says Time for Change Foundation focuses on, the trauma outside of
addiction. Now, Jessica has gained a new view of herself and has gained a positive mindset over her situation.
After only one month of being at TFCF Jessica has gained employment and has moved into her own apartment on
November 1, 2021! It has been three years since Jessica has had her own home, and while this is exciting for
her, she is more thankful at the thought that she now has a home to reunite with her son!
Removed from her mother’s custody, and fostered by her Nana as a youth, Cynthia dealt with neglect, emotional trauma, and abuse as a child. After her Nana’s advanced age forced a return to her mother, she began to witness her mother’s addiction firsthand. This normalization of substance abuse led to more trauma, and a relationship where she would begin using herself for the first time at 22. Now a mother, and still dealing with untreated emotional traumas, drugs became a craving and release from everyday struggles. Cynthia entered into an abusive relationship, where she lost track of the days in her addiction. She lost track of herself. She lost her freedom —multiple times. Ultimately, she lost her children.
However, since coming to Time for Change Foundation, Cynthia began individual counseling, and is now employed. She began visits with her children, and now, they’ve been completely reunified, moving into an apartment together. They attend family therapy, working to create a bond that was missing in her addiction. Cynthia has gained self confidence, and smiles now. “I’ve learned who Cynthia is,” she tells us. She feels freer than she ever has, and gives thanks God for showing her the bottom so she’d find the strength to climb up.
Referring to her early life as a “roller coaster,” Star was determined to be the best mother to her son, Ze’veon. She did everything she could to care for him, but he was taken from her on his very first birthday. “Before I could explain my side of the story, they were driving away with my baby.” She was determined to fight to be reunited with her child. She was given a list of things to do for reunification but after six months, she had missed two parenting classes, and three drug tests. The judge decided to take away her parental rights. Consumed with guilt, Star would immediately fall into a life of recidivism, acting out and finding herself incarcerated within the month.
Two years later she paroled out, only to return within six months. With two strikes and a newly discovered battle against not only addiction, but mental health issues, Star channeled her guilt, and her untreated trauma into blaming others. Expecting a lengthier sentence, she was surprised with early release, and while waiting to meet her probation officer called Time for Change Foundation. At first it was an address for parole and probation but after spending time in the program her intentions have changed. Star is learning how to live a life of structure and meeting all of the requirements to be able to reunify with her son.
Since being at TFCF she now has hope that she can remain out of incarceration, maintain her sobriety, and reach self-sufficiency. This leads to “…the beginning of a new, and improved life. Change is coming.”
Marguerite and her sisters were raised in a home where addiction fueled violence and indifference. At first it was her father, an alcoholic, beating her mother while she hid in a closet. After her father left them, her hope for normal life was shattered as her mother coped by turning to drugs. The spiral down was swift and homelessness became her reality.
By her junior year of high school she was pregnant and herself in a relationship with a violent man. Not wanting that life for her child she fled, pregnant for the second time. After some time she married and had two more children, but the marriage would end after 4 years. Battling through poverty, she took every visit with her children as a gift, and even though living in her car, found work. Marguerite had learned that children under 5 years of age will be reunified with parents or adopted out, but they could not remain in foster care for over 12 months. Marguerite couldn’t wait, she had four children in the system, and three were under the age of 5. She had under half a year to secure her children.
Hopeless, she searched through her belongings to find a business card for Kim Carter from a women at the jail. Brighter Futures led to changing her life. She began overnight visits with her children and in early 2021 was granted custody of her two oldest children. Today, Marguerite is happy, working to better herself. She has put together the pieces of hope shattered so early in her life and “can see brighter futures.”
Britney’s Success Story
Britney had a “good childhood,” though as a kid she didn’t think much of it. Her parents divorced when she was five, and while her father operated a successful business, her mother used drugs and went through a series of boyfriends before landing in prison when Britney was 10. She and her sisters then went to live with their father, and while things were good, Britney became pregnant at 15 years old. When she reached early adulthood, she found herself married with a second child. Her marriage became controlling causing her to fall into depression, alcohol, and drug dependency, and ultimately, incarceration. “I’d go to jail, and tell myself I’d do better, then get out and use right away.” Britney was spending more on drugs than she was on her bills. She believed drugs made her feel better, but couldn’t see the reality of her life through the drug-induced illusion.
Ultimately, she lost everything; her addiction left her with nothing but homelessness. “The last time [in jail] I cried, and I never cried [in jail] before. I prayed and prayed. ‘God, I don’t want this anymore.’” That was a turning point for Britney. When she got out of jail the last time she was referred to rehab and Time for Change Foundation. She decided then to take the first step towards staying clean and sober and getting her life on track.
She came to Time for Change Foundation in September 2021. Since then, things have gone beyond her expectations. She enjoys weekly groups and talking to the other women in the program who understand the things she’s been through. Britney has been able to visit with her children regularly and is working towards family reunification. Her prayers were answered as she tells us, “It’s almost like he’s [God] saying ‘I told you, let me do this for you.’” Britney acknowledges that there is a lot of damage to repair, and she aims to take all the time necessary to heal.
Through TFCF’s Positive Family Future Reunification (PFFR) Program she is participating in weekly parenting classes and individual therapy to help her heal from her past and prepare her to be a nurturing and supportive mother for her children. Britney is on track to receiving custody of her children back and is grateful for the opportunity Time for Change Foundation is providing her!
Josephine’s Success Story
Josephine came to Time for Change Foundation (TFCF) on August 11, 2020, after completing five months at Magnolia Drug Treatment Program. Since 2016 she has lived in various sober livings and has been in six different drug treatment programs throughout Humboldt County. Trying to maintain sobriety had been a struggle for Josephine, but her biggest motivator was her six-year-old son, Michael.
Josephine heard about TFCF from another woman in the program and called immediately. When she called the staff conducted her phone screening and she entered our Brighter Futures home for women and children a week later. Aside from trying to better herself, Josephine battled the child welfare system as she tried to regain custody of her son.
Feeling like she was fighting alone, Josephine did everything she had to do to comply with what was asked of her and after only 30 days at TFCF, she was able to bring her son Michael home. After two years of separation due to her addiction, Josephine finally got a second chance to be the mother her son needs. With the help of treatment and now having a stable home, Josephine has been able to remain clean and sober for seven months.
“I’m so thankful for Time for Change Foundation, my son wouldn’t be as happy as he is here anywhere else,” Josephine shared with us. When asked about what she likes best about TFCF she said, “I love everything about TFCF, everything they offer has helped me, I’ve been in every program, and nothing compares.” Michael loves his new home and expresses to his mom how happy he is now that he’s with her. Today Josephine is going back to school to get her GED and Michael is thriving in preschool.
Trinidad’s Success Story
Trinidad came to Time for Change Foundation’s (TFCF) Brighter Futures homes on October 16,
2019 after being falsely evicted from her home making her homeless with a 13-year-old daughter. She lost all her belongings and struggled to keep her daughter in school. Sometimes life throws a curve ball, here she was homeless, jobless, car-less, and without her most important papers that could help her get back on track.
Her daughter was a straight-A student, she played violin, was on the drill team, and did flags. As a single mom, Trinidad faced so many uncertainties and became depressed because she wanted so much more for her daughter. She heard about TFCF from a friend, unsure of what to expect but more than ready for change, she did not hesitate to call. Trinidad knew she and her daughter deserved so much more than the current life they had been living on the streets.
After two months of being in stable housing, Trinidad got a job on December 5, 2019. She worked hard, attended all of TFCF’s educational classes, began saving her money, and on February 15, 2020, she got a car. Stable housing, support, focus, and faith are what Trinidad needed to become self-sufficient again. Her daughter was able to reconnect in school and together they were thriving and well on their way to the life they both had hoped for, for so long.
Through all her trials, Trinidad did not allow them to stand in her way. With the support of Time for Change Foundation and Trinidad’s unwavering strength and dedication, another one of her many goals was achieved and on July 28, 2020, Trinidad and her daughter moved into their very own apartment! Congratulations Trinidad!
Nortasia’s Success Story
After successfully graduating from our Positive Futures I and Positive Futures II projects, Nortasia has overcome barriers she has faced over the years being a formerly incarcerated woman and reached self-sufficiency.
Raised by her mother while her father was incarcerated for 15 years of her life she did exceptionally well growing up. “I was a bright child, an honor roll student, and in the G.A.T.E (gifted and talented education) program,” said Nortasia. She describes herself as being a happy child, but by the time she was 15 she was sexually abused, raped and human trafficked to the point that she tried to commit suicide. Her sister found her in the bathtub after swallowing over 150 aspirin and she was then diagnosed with bipolar disorder and severe depression.
After years on lots of medication and inside treatment facilities, eventually, hospitalization led to incarceration. Nortasia found herself in a horrible situation because of drug abuse and was facing 15 years to life. “God must have been looking out for me because I got 2 years with half,” she said. Ever since then she knew she had to make changes.
When she was released, she went to Time for Change Foundation and really got the help that she needed. She participated in weekly classes, therapy, work projects, and got help with getting into sober living. TFCF supported Nortasia for six months in sober living while helping her to obtain her identification, gain employment, a car, and eventually her own home! “My life has not always been easy but I’m thankful for my pain because I get to appreciate better blessings, I have in life today, thank you Time for Change!”
Andrea’s Success Story
Andrea grew up in San Jose, Ca in a safe and happy family with faithfully married parents and 3 sisters. She was raised not to steal or lie at a young age. Throughout her youth and young adult life, Andrea struggled with weight issues and obesity accompanied by a bit of the “wild middle child” complex. Andrea says she was always a very hardheaded, willfully, strong-minded girl.
She went to school for her Associates of Science in Child Development and worked as the Director of a Christian preschool for 8 years. At the age of 20, Andrea married her high school sweetheart, her very first boyfriend. She was very young and naïve, following in the footsteps of her older sister who also married young. The marriage lasted less than a year.
The death of Andrea’s mother and the loss of her twin nieces began the start of a deep depression in her life. This took her to a low that no matter what she did or what medication she took she couldn’t seem to pull out from it. This began her substance abuse. Andrea spiraled in and out of parties, alcohol, drugs, and reckless behavior for some years. This path led to domestic violence, unhealthy relationships, jail, and legal problems.
During this time Andrea was in a horrific car accident that broke her neck caused a spinal injury, and caused her to eventually lose her right leg below the knee. This further caused her to struggle with substance abuse. Andrea’s wake up call came after serving 44 days in county jail for a DUI. She found AA and the 12-step program as a way out for the next 6 years. She had 2 beautiful children, Luke, and Donna with her new spouse who she met in AA.
Two years after giving birth to her daughter, Andrea relapsed on drugs and alcohol, followed by depression which led her to bad life decisions, chaos, and more loss. Andrea came to Time for Change Foundation holding firmly to the goal of getting her children back from foster care, correcting her financial burdens, legal problems, and the consequences of her actions.
Currently, she is attending TFCF’s drug and alcohol classes, parenting classes, is part of the PFFR Program, and has since accomplished a goal by resolving her DMV issues and purchasing a car! Her motivator in her journey to self-sufficiency is her children. Next, she hopes to use the structure and stability gained from TFCF to get her own place.
Tantunia’s Success Story
Tantunia grew up in an addiction-filled family with a single mother who worked a lot. By the time she was 19 years old, Tantunia fell in love young, giving birth to 2 beautiful children. She knew she was too young and disappointed her mother. Though the relationship with her mother wasn’t always the best, she helped with raising the children. The father of her children was still around, but was just as irresponsible as her. With addiction and dysfunction being all that she knew, she started smoking marijuana.
At this point, she was meeting the wrong people, living unhealthy, fighting with family, the children’s father, and started to rely on using drugs to cope. Years passed and her mother continued to help financially. The children’s father ended up going to jail to get sober for a couple of years, not realizing that recovery programs were an option. The kids started school, and so did she.
Tantunia was doing well for a while despite never getting the help needed for her underlying issues. The addiction, depression, and traumatic events that happened while growing up led to a relationship with an older man who used drugs. With a lack of knowledge of recovery, she started using again. This time, however, Tantunia used harder drugs. She was 23 when the relationship turned into one of domestic violence. She stayed in this relationship for 2 years without support from family, ended up in jail, and lost custody of her children.
After a year of fighting to gain back custody, Tantunia was introduced to NA and recovery rooms. She left her toxic relationship, got a restraining order, and never looked back. Still fighting addiction, the kids moved to Texas with her mom, giving her time to get sober and financially stable. It took Tantunia 3 years to work on this. She eventually found a partner that supported her sobriety, they got their own place and were engaged. While the couple planned on having a baby, her children came back from Texas.
Soon she was pregnant with her third child but unfortunately, Tantunia failed to stay on top of her recovery. She stopped going to meetings, therapy, and self-care. Even though her family was back together, a part of Tantunia slipped away. Before she knew it, she was pregnant and using. Her baby tested positive. “My decision ripped away my family, home, and stability. My kids went back to Texas, my newborn baby stayed with the father, and I had to leave my home. I was so hurt by my actions.”
After that, she realized enough was enough and entered TFCF on December 9, 2021. Her goals were to reunite with her son, remain in sobriety, become self-sufficient and graduate from a drug and alcohol program. As a participant of the Positive Family Future Reunification Program, she has been given the opportunity to garner the skillset that breaks the cycle of generational domestic violence.
She got her job at Stater Bros on February 10, and a promotion with the company within a couple of weeks! She has completed participation in all of TFCF’s classes and programs: Life Skills, 12 –Step Education, and Relapse Prevention. She is also well on her way to completing and receiving her certificate for drugs and alcohol. Recently, Tantunia went to court and was awarded her rights back to her son, she has achieved her goal of reunifying with her baby boy! Next is getting her own home for her and her son. We are so proud of her!
“I’ve realized addiction is a disease, and I will forever need to stay connected to NA, recovery, and seek help when I need it. I enrolled in drug and alcohol programs and I’m about to graduate. I had a relapse, but am still fighting to remain sober and not be homeless again.”
Rita’s Success Story
Rita is the middle child with an older brother of one year and a younger sister of five years. Both Rita’s mom and dad were addicts. Although they never verbally spoke about it, she was aware. Her mother has since passed after having several years of sobriety. After her husband died, she suffered a hard relapse. Rita watched as her mother’s life went into oblivion. Her mother died in her arms in the hospital after becoming septic from all the poison.
Throughout her teenage years, Rita used heroine all the time. She ran away at 15 years old. She lived up north for a few years before being sent back home. She was living with her grandparents when her grandmother moved to Highland. Rita chose to stay in Rialto, a major decision that altered her life forever. She had no guidance, no authority, no rules. Rita was completely alone.
Not finishing high school, she returned home at 20 years old, after giving birth to her daughter in 1992. Rita was on-and-off drugs ever since, in-and-out of institutions and prison, and in a relationship that overtook her life well into her 30s. Her entire life was based on one man and drugs. In 2016, after a case, she was granted a chance at drug court. Rita graduated from drug court, with honors, and even made the front of the Yucca Valley newspaper.
Rita began working and trying to maintain her recovery for 4 years. But she never really got past her mother’s death, along with several friends soon after. She ended up getting 3 DUI’s and entered Cedar House to get a grip on herself. “You see at 47 years old you realize more than you did at 22. This is me saving myself, this is me surrendering to Yeshua, this is me loving myself enough to save myself. So now Time for Change Foundation is helping me change so that this time will be the last time I fall.”
Rita came to TFCF on January 6th of 2022. She has excelled in our Legal Employment Accessing Profit. The LEAP Program is for formerly incarcerated individuals and individuals impacted by the war on drugs that want to gain employment. On February 25, Rita got a job at Stater Bros. So far, she has received both her 30-day and 60-day certificates for Life Skills. She is also on her way to completing and receiving her certificate for 12-step Education and Relapse Prevention.
With newly found confidence, Rita has now reached self-sufficiency, is maintaining her sobriety, and has since moved into her own home. “I couldn’t have done it without TFCF. Key point is having a place to lay your head and rejuvenate your body is important. You feel a rested body and clear head, so you don’t have to worry about not having a place to go or going back to a place where there are triggers. Having a safe place is key to accomplishing anything.”
Tamara’s Success Story
Tamara came from a family that did things “by the book” to provide for the family, but emotionally and mentally they weren’t there. That caused her to do everything on her own, making her mature at a young age. This made her feel like she lacked things, such as compassion. She chose the wrong men and friends wanting to be liked, no matter how they treated her.
All Tamara saw in her family was struggle. No one really loving or caring for one another, no support, no positivity, just negativity and doom. She left home after high school at 18. She was on her own ever since, struggling to support her children without the help and support from family. Tamara did her best to not be like her family, she wanted to change the narrative, learn to break the habits that would pass down to her children and hold her back, and she was tired of not living up to her best self.
Tamara came to TFCF on January 21, 2022. Along with her 2 beautiful daughters, she had a goal to work toward building a stable income and finding her own home. Tamara has completed 30 and 60 day Life Skills classes, Leadership Development, Mommy and Me, Employment Development and parenting classes.
With an interest in education, she started working on March 11. As a substitute teacher, she has worked in San Bernardino and Chino school districts. Tamara has made her way to self-sufficiency, and has moved into her own place in April 2022. She is proving motherhood is a powerful driving force!
“Moving forward I won’t live in fear or trauma- only my purpose and future. My kids deserve the best of me. I deserve to have more for myself. I will not give up on myself anymore. This program is the start of my journey and I believe God brought me here for a reason.”
Starquisha’s Success Story
My name is Starquisha Dunn. In my 29 years of life, I have faced significant challenges. As a drug baby coming from a difficult family background, I have suffered from mental illness all my life and was abused in the foster-care system.
After my one and only child was taken from me and put into the system seven years ago, I was devastated. Soon after, he was adopted out and the little life that I had left in me was gone. I couldn’t find a drug strong enough to hide the pain. My whole life was taken from me, I lost faith in God, and my family gave up on me.
I was hurt and alone and had no one to turn to. Drugs and incarceration were all I knew. I was in and out of jail and after I paroled in 2020, I caught another case. I looked for programs that could help me get my son back and I found Time for Change Foundation (TFCF). I saw their flyer while in jail and when I was released in 2021, I called and went straight to TFCF.
Even though I have been through a lot, I am determined to turn my life around and become somebody by the time I turn 30. With the help of Time for Change Foundation, I have found the support and resources that I need to achieve my goals.
Time for Change literally saved my life by believing in me and allowing me to be a star. They helped me gain the stability I needed to turn my life around forever and are constantly reminding me of who Star is going to be.
Time for Change Foundation has helped me in my journey towards personal growth, self-sufficiency, success, and happiness. After cycling in and out of almost every program in San Bernardino County including incarceration, I moved into my own apartment in February 2023. I am finally on the path to becoming self-sufficient and would not have gotten here without the help of TFCF.
I hope that my story inspires other women with similar stories to seek out resources and support from evidence-based programs that are changing and saving lives every day. My progress is my success. Where there is no progress, there is no success.
Fall in love with the process of becoming the very best version of yourself.
Melanie’s Success Story
Due to unforeseen events, Melanie, a mother of three children ages 18, 12, and 9, was separated from her children and husband in 2020. After becoming homeless she began living out of her car in 2021. This caused Melanie to go into a deep depression which lead to an addiction to meth and alcohol. Her life became unmanageable and she grew tired of using and abusing drugs and alcohol.
Melanie decided to seek residential treatment at Gibson House, where she resided for four months and completed the program. She transitioned to a sober living home for another ninety days to continue in her recovery, however those ninety days were not enough time to allow Melanie to become self-sufficient. As an effort to not become homeless yet again, she called 211 and was led to Time for Change Foundation (TFCF). After completing the intake screening over the phone she was scheduled for a face to face interview where she was further informed on the program and determined to be a great fit!
Melanie says it was by the grace of God that she was able to take part in the TFCF shelter program. At TFCF she gained structure, confidence, discipline, and the trust in herself and others that she lost long ago. Wrap around services like financial literacy classes, taught her how to save money and budget. Workforce development taught her how to build a resume, look for jobs, apply for jobs, and prepared her for interviews. The relapse prevention classes have helped Melanie understand the disease of addiction and how to recognize red flags and triggers. Other classes that assisted in her journey include anger management, life skills and Clay Counseling where she’s able to discuss and work through past trauma.
Melanie is now on her way to being 100% self-sufficient and recently transitioned into her own apartment! Melanie pays it forward by volunteering in the Time for Change Foundation office, staying productive and improving her office skills, while also being a testimony to current clients. She has remained sober, 1 year, 3 months, and 20 days! She’s active in her recovery by attending AA/NA meetings regularly. Melanie has also made great improvements in her relationship with her family. She spends every other weekend with them and her family. Establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries has been a major tool in her journey. A tool that she now uses to continuously improve.
Melanie thanks Time for Change Foundation for the support and love bestowed unto her in her lowest moments. A few goals at the top of her list include staying sober and staying connected to her TFCF family!
Timothy’s Success Story
While at the parole office Timothy met Ms. Phyllis, TFCF Director of Operations. She shared with him about the LEAP Project and how it could benefit him. This caught his attention. Not long after their meeting, Timothy was enrolled in the LEAP Project.
Before enrolling in the LEAP Project Timothy didn’t have many people he could count on. As part of the LEAP Project, he was assisted with gas cards to be able to go on job interviews, work clothes, boots, and shelter.
Since graduating from the 12-week work readiness program, Timothy is now gainfully employed as a forklift driver. He can now provide for his family as they prepare to move into their new home and welcome a new baby.
Jacque’s Success Story
This is my story. It’s not a Once Upon a Time kind of story but it does have a happy ending. I was born and raised on a Native American reservation in Arizona. I had a rough childhood and endured abuse. I spent my childhood rotating in and out of foster care homes and going back and forth between both parents. I started doing drugs at the very young age of 12. I started out smoking weed here and there and finishing my parents’ drinks after their parties. As I got older, I tried other drugs ranging from acid, shrooms, and meth. I loved it! There was nothing more than to use at a young age.
I did at least graduate high school and had my first son soon after. I could hardly take care of him, so my mom and stepdad stepped in. Soon after that I had my second son. I was in a very abusive relationship where my partner tried to kill me and my sons. That’s when I started using crack cocaine and became very addicted. Thankfully, I was able to escape that relationship. Due to my addiction, I was constantly in and out of jail. At one point while out of jail, I had my third son. Still in a very addictive state of mind, I could not stop for the sake of my life.
Fast forward, I had two more children while battling addiction. I caught a violent case in 2018 and in 2019 I lost custody of my two youngest children. I also lost the respect of my family and my older children. People only wanted me around if I had drugs. I didn’t care about my kids. I tested dirty and was caught shop lifting causing me to serve on year in federal tribal jail. Once released, I went on the run for just about four years on our Indian reservation. I thought I was untouchable until September 25, 2021 when I was finally busted. I violated probation by having drugs, weapons, and a lot of money. I was sentenced to 365 days in county jail, but if I completed a substance abuse program I would serve half. I did exactly that and was released on February 7, 2022!
I was sent to probation housing. Due to my mental illness and the nature of that program, it was not the right program for me. I was moved to housing for people with mental illness. When I tell you there was no structure, I mean, there was NO STRUCTURE at all. I was on the verge of relapse and I was ready to throw in the towel until while at court ordered class, I had confessed that I was on the verge of relapse. I actually had the drugs and pipe on me at class. I confessed that I did not care about what would happen to me, I did not care about my kids then in foster care.
My instructor pulled me aside and jotted down in my journal TIME FOR CHANGE FOUNDATION (TFCF) and the phone number. I called TFCF and I was instructed to fill out the online application. I talked to the homeowner of where I was staying, and I told her exactly what I felt about the unstructured program. I told her about the relapse I was intending on having and that I didn’t feel safe there. She understood completely. I received a phone call the next day from TFCF and schedule a face-to-face interview. I GOT ACCEPTED!
I was instructed to come with all my belongings the very next day. I couldn’t believe I had the opportunity to be involved with a very well-known organization. When I got this great news, I THREW MY DRUGS AWAY! I came to TFCF with a different outlook on my life. I had so many struggles with recovery and with my children, and I really needed a change. During my time in the program, I’ve learned so much about myself, like how strong and smart I am. I didn’t know I could accomplish the goals I set for myself. I have achieved so much. I’ve learned about my recovery, I’ve learned about my flaws, and I learned that my past does not define me!
The staff at Time for Change Foundation goes above and beyond for me. TFCF HELPED ME REUNITE WITH MY CHILDREN! It had been two years since I had my children in my care and TFCF took a leap of faith with me. I feel without the Time for Change Foundation program, I would have lost my children in the system for good and I would have gone back to prison. not only do I have the support from the TFCF staff, but I also gained the support and respect from my family. Most importantly I have been able to fix the broken relationship between myself and my three older sons. I have a great deal of respect and love for the Time for Change Foundation staff.
What happened? That was my constant thought as I sat in prison realizing that I had let my 2 kids down again. I had a vision in my mind of being a caring and nurturing parent because I didn’t have that. As far as I can remember, domestic violence was inherited from my grandmother, passed down to my mother and dwelling within me. I was pretty much raised in the foster care system, and I wanted so much more for myself. Yet here I was endangering myself and my children with toxicity and unhealthy relationships. I lost myself.
During my time in prison, I did a lot of personal growth and healing. Upon my release, I knew how I wanted my life to be and that I had to get my kids out of foster care. I found out about Time for Change Foundation’s (TFCF) Positive Futures II program, while in prison and quickly enrolled in the program upon release. I got a job just 4 days after my release but still needed assistance and guidance to reunify with my children. The hardest part was finding permanent housing for me and my kids. Although the program assisted with my basic needs and employment support, I still needed my Child Protective Services worker to approve my reunification.
Both TFCF staff and I searched feverishly to get me an apartment, but everything was filled up or had a waiting list. I was told to be patient, that God didn’t bring me this far to fail, but every visit with my children would leave me heartbroken because I couldn’t take them with me. Then it happened, an apartment became available on June 1st, and I received a wonderful fully furnished apartment where I could bring my kids home. It’s been 2 weeks already and my worker has approved my reunification to happen before the end of the month! I am truly grateful!
Originally from Chicago, Nadaja moved to California to live with relatives in hopes of building a new life with her son (16) and daughter (13). It wasn’t long before she realized the living situation was not healthy. Living in shelters and in her car became the norm as she struggled with seeing the disappointment in her children’s faces.
After spending three months living in their car, showering in park bathrooms all while working a full-time job, she was at a standstill. Her daughter recalls feeling helpless during this time saying, “as a teenager you can’t really do much financially to help, but I tried not to complain because I understood my mom was going through a hard time.” Nadaja came across a Facebook post for affordable housing. Although Nadaja wasn’t sure if she’d qualify because she had no rental history, she knew it wouldn’t hurt to try. That’s when she met the staff at Time for Change Foundation and Ms. Dominique took her by the hand.
“This blessing was so abundant and I thank God we’re inside for summer and that my kids have a place to call home. I was blessed with a beautiful fully furnished apartment and my kids in their own room. We Call it Home, Others Call it Hope. that sticks in my mind because I had some hope and made that call, we now have a home. I’m thankful and grateful for EVERYTHING!”
Carmela is a recipient of the of Time for Change Foundation’s Education Scholarship program. This scholarship program supports those enrolled in Community College, Vocational School, and the BBOP Business Academy. Here’s her story on the importance of education.
As a woman of ethnic background, it’s paramount for our legacy to obtain, not only a lucrative career, but a meaningful one. Throughout history, women faced and still face many obstacles; we still live in a world of patriarchy; countries that still look at women as inferior; women get paid less than men. Leading me to this point, women in education and prominent positions are the catalysts for my applying to this amazing scholarship opportunity.
To give a bit of a backstory, I moved from the Philippines to America, the land of the free, at 2 years old. My parents dreamt of a better life for our family. Fast forward to 2008, I decided to take some prerequisite college classes to move towards a nursing degree. My mother, at the time, had been battling cancer a few years back and was in remission. To our grim surprise, the cancer had returned and infiltrated her body. I was asked by family to drop out of college and take care of my mother while my dad went to work. She took a turn for the worst and in a matter of 3 months, she succumbed to this insidious disease.
I am now enrolled at San Bernardino Valley College (SBVC) with the goal to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). I currently work as an instructional tutor at Arroyo Valley High School and if it wasn’t for my colleagues, friends, and husband, I wouldn’t have the courage to go back to continuing my education. So far, I am loving the online classes and can manage my time very well along with the daily responsibilities of life. I feel that an LMFT would not only benefit my career, but it would benefit others that struggle with mental illness.
In essence, I am confident and determined to reach my goal. I am a 46-year-old with insecurities just like any other woman, but with a plan and passion to continue my education, no matter what comes my way. My mom would be very proud!
Barry doesn’t remember much about the Watts LA Riot because he was so young, but what he does remember is the constant sounds of gun shots. Much is to be said about being a young black kid amid environmental suffocation, failing schools and lack of investment in the infrastructure of South Central. Like most families trying to desperately escape the mental anguish that accompanies extreme poverty, Barry joined the church where he sang in the youth choir. Church served as a sanctuary and a place where his family could find spiritual comradery.
Wrong place at the wrong time? This is another story of where the justice system fails to deliver for black men in America. Without any prior negativity or behavior issues at school or at home, Barry became a target for a crime he did not commit. Despite his innocence, he was shepherded through without proper legal defense and found himself sentenced to LIFE in prison. For the next 40 years he would remain vigilante about his story although many disbelieved. Thankfully, organizations like the ACLU, and the Innocence Project who continue to get black men released from prison because they were wrongfully convicted have supported people like Barry.
It was finally discovered Barry was falsely accused. Fighting for Barry until 1997, ACLU turned the case to the Federal Public Defender’s office in Los Angeles which resulted in a Federal Judge overturning the conviction in 2016. It took another 7 years for the injustice system to acknowledge his case and on May 10, 2023, Barry was freed after 4 decades. TFCF’s Brighter Futures welcomed Barry home on May 31, 2023, he now looks forward to his Brighter Future!
At the age of 5 his mother left him, and he went to live with his grandmother. He didn’t understand why his mother left, and his pain turned into anger. This trauma at such a young age made him believe that no one cared for him, that he was all he had, and he had to do things all on his own. At the age of 18, Anthony was sentenced to LIFE in prison and spent the following 19 years incarcerated. On July 30, 2020, he was granted parole and was released on January 4, 2021.
Upon his release, a part of him still believed that, yet he put his pride to the side, humbled himself and built up the courage to ask for help. He expressed “life is hard out here, but I am thankful that there are programs like Time for Change Foundation and the LEAP program to help people like me get back on their feet.” With the help of the LEAP program, which helps formerly incarcerated individuals with employment, he was able to get hired with a construction company. However, his heart wanted to do more meaningful work, leading him to work with an organization called California Justice Leaders. He stated “I want to give back and help people like me, help those who experienced the same upbringing as me and have suffered the consequence of making bad decisions. I want to help show them that there is a better way.”
I am excited to share that I have been accepted to Cal State San Bernardino to further my education! I am beyond blessed to start my journey to becoming a case manager and helping others in need. I am so grateful for Time for Change Foundation and for Ms. Lisha who took the time to help me on such short notice. LEAP provided me with clothing, food cards, gas cards, resume building, job leads and mentorship along the way to my success. “My plan is to help people the same way that Lisha helped me. Thank you so much for all your help!”