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Gloria* and her three children became homeless shortly after she and her husband separated. She was working in the cleaning department at a local trucking company but could not make the rent.

Gloria, who comes from a family of truck drivers, decided to get her Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) after encouragement from her Family Case Manager, Luz.  As you can imagine,  her decision came with complications – hours of class time and on-the-road training, childcare during COVID, and having to learn everything in English which is not her first language.

But Gloria was not to be deterred.  She enrolled in trucking school with the financial support of the Adam Rosignolo Family Success Fund**.  The fund, specifically designed to help homeless families acquire the skills they need to become self-sufficient, paid for all of the classes, materials, and on-the- road practice time. Gloria faithfully attended classes required for the CDL, while simultaneously taking classes to improve her English at Bergen Community College.

In September, Gloria experienced a loss that could have derailed all of her efforts.  Gloria’s friend, who had promised her the use of his truck to practice for the driver’s test, died suddenly of COVID.  Gloria was devastated, but she was determined to continue her quest, this time in memory of her friend.  Every morning, Gloria would wake up at 4 AM to memorize and recite the different parts of the truck in English.  She wrote and rewrote lists of all the important information she wanted to sear into her brain.

Finally, Gloria was ready to take the test.  She was assigned an appointment at 9 AM on Christmas Eve at a site three hours away from her apartment.  So, at 5 AM, Gloria kissed her sleeping children goodbye and headed south.  She arrived early and sat nervously waiting her turn.  She already had two job offers contingent on getting her CDL.

When the examiner arrived, Gloria was surprised and delighted to find that he also spoke Spanish.  He calmed her down and told her not to worry about her accent.  Suddenly, all of Gloria’s nerves disappeared.  She soared through the test confidently in English, demonstrating her mastery of even the examiner’s most technical queries.

The true story here is one of tenacity and passion.  Gloria refused to let anything stand in the way of her goal.  She is a role model for her children and has demonstrated that through hard work, you can accomplish anything.

Back in Bergen County, Luz awaited a call with the results.  Once she got word, Luz called the office.  “She did it!  Gloria passed the test!”

I don’t think any of us could have received a better Christmas gift.

*We use pseudonyms to protect our families’ privacy.

**To learn more about the Adam Rosignolo Family Success Fund, please see the Donor Spotlight.