Unique partnership turns mother's life around
On the Web
FLORIDA CITY, Fla. (WSVN) -- A South Florida mother was homeless and trying to take care of her six children before coming face to face with a life-changing opportunity.
Thirty-four-year-old Latonya Bell counts her blessings everyday. "I look at my kids, and I look at everything we've gone through, and I'm just happy," Bell said. "Sometimes, at night before I go to work, I'm like, 'Wow, I'm really going to work.'"
Just a few months ago, Bell and her family led a very different life. "We were in the shelter for six months, and I had been looking for a home for me and my kids, and it's been very hard," Bell said.
Bell now has a job, able to put a roof over her head and put food on the table for her and her six children. "Being able to work for Walmart is like a blessing for me," Bell said.
Months prior, Bell decided to make a change and accomplish her dream, and with help from an organization called Dress for Success, Bell learned to dress professionally, as well as how to land a job. "I worked with her personally, and I coached her a little bit on going on the job interview," Founder of Dress for Success Sonia Jacobson said. "We tried very hard to help her find a job, and so of course, knowing that she was living down in this neighborhood and the new store was opening, we worked very hard with the Walmart executives to interview her and then hire her."
The managers at Walmart called Bell a very good employee. "Always on the move and always looking for something to do," Walmart store manager Eric Burgains said. "She's awesome."
Even though Bell's life has improved significantly, she still struggles. Bell lives in Florida City and takes the bus to work, a commute that takes two hours. "I don't have to be to work until 10 o'clock at night, but I leave early, around eight, eight thirty, so that I can get here on time," Bell said.
Even with the obstacles Bell has battled and the ones that lie ahead, Bell said she is working towards success. "They don't know what I've been through. They don't know the struggles that I go through. They don't know how long I've been looking for a job, the abuse that I've gone through," Bell said. "They don't understand anything, but I'm here, my children are here. I have all my kids with me, and I'm happy. I'm happy."
For more information on Dress For Success: http://www.dressforsuccess.org/.
(Copyright 2013 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)