Stephanie Gomez was addicted to drugs by the age of fourteen. She became a prostitute at the age of twenty-seven. She has been a victim of childhood sexual abuse, domestic abuse, a child victim of a broken home, and a victim of adult homelessness, but today she has broken the cycle. Stephanie has been sober and free of prostitution for seven and a half years. She is no longer a victim of her past. She is a SURVIVOR!
Stephanie has learned that the past doesn’t define who you are or your future. She has grown from battered and abused, strung out and ashamed; to a woman who values her worth and believes in a God who loves and redeems. When she was young, she had many dreams, but along the way those dreams faded away. Once she got sober, she began to dream again. She went to recovery meetings, outreach events, and church. She did everything to build a new life. She got a job working with a cleaning company where she started at the bottom and worked her way up to supervisor and training manager. She is forever grateful for the six years there and to the company for taking a chance on her.
With big goals in mind, Stephanie went back to school to obtain her high school diploma at Clovis Adult Education. By doing this, she started to fulfill a dream in her heart of becoming a social worker, and she put together an education plan that would allow her to accomplish her dream. She graduated on January 7, 2022 and started attending Clovis Community College on January 10, 2022. Her goal is to transfer to Fresno State University to obtain a bachelor’s degree, then a master’s degree, and finally a PhD in Social Work.
Ms. Gomez's life has been one long journey and there are still many adventures left in her story that haven’t started yet, and she is excited for each and every one of them! Her dream of becoming a social worker stems from the hard life she has lived, as she personally knows just how deep the need is for more people in this line of work. She wants to be a light in a dark situation and be a beacon of hope to people in need. If she can help just one person, man or woman, child or family who is suffering from drug addiction, alcoholism, sexual abuse, domestic violence, or human trafficking, go from feeling trapped and victimized to feeling empowered and free as a survivor, then she will have accomplished something beautiful.
Finally, Stephanie considers herself to be a role model for her family because no matter how tough life got for her or how far down in her addiction she was, she didn’t stay there. She didn’t give up. She got up and fought her way back to life, back to her family, back to sobriety. By doing this, she hopes she has shown her family that it is never too late to start over. It's never too late to dream again, and not just follow your dreams, but chase after them. By getting sober and staying this way, she has shown her family that miracles do exist if you continue to believe in them. By going back to school and pursuing her dreams, she is showing her family that anything is possible if you just focus on something bigger than yourself. By choosing to become a social worker, she is showing her family that it is okay to let your past struggles lead you if they are taking you to a positive destination.
As a role model, Stephanie leads by example and guides those who need help down a righteous path, lifting them up along the way. She prays that she is not only a role model for her own family but for any person she meets who is struggling with something in their life. She feels by becoming a social worker, she will be in the perfect position to help somebody change their life the way she has done with hers.
8/18/2022 09:57:45 am
Ms. Gomez, your story is very inspiring. Thank you for sharing. I believe you are going to reach many individuals and be a positive influence in our community.
2/7/2023 10:49:59 am
I just want to say thank you so much for this award and for publishing my story! I wish I would have seen this sooner! I pray everybody is able to fulfill all their dreams and goals and that each individual knows they are unique and we all have a purpose in this life. Thank you again!!
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