OUR STORY...... 

 The goal of this site is to share our story with the world. We are two college graduates that have realized we have no way of paying off our student loans. We barely get buy paying the rent and feeding our children. We, like so many other great Americans, just wanted to get an education and be productive members of society. We also wanted to show our children that college was not just what they 'should' do, but what we did! My wife and I both come from very poor homes and we figured if we could graduate college coming from poor, disfunctional, and broken homes then they had no excuse to not attend college, especially with us helping them in every way possible. I decided I would create this site to give people the opportunity to hear our story and if they so choose help us make a dollar go a long way!
The story is an emotional rollercoaster of the journey of two people who made something out of nothing. We hope to inspire others to never give up on their dreams and to possibly donate towards us achieving ours!
Hello my name is Jeff and my story begins in Riverside, California. I was the fourth child of eight, with only one sister. The home I was born into was in crisis and had been for almost a year. My older brother was severly burned in a house fire right before I was concieved. Michael was in the hospital for many months while my mother was pregnant with me. My parents struggled with addiction for most of our childhood. When I was born my mother was 21 and had her plate full taking care of my burned, now toddler, brother, so taking care of me must have been quite the task on top three other small boys all under the age of 6. Family and friends spoke often on how little attention I received due to the situation. I was an incredibly energetic child keeping everyone on their toes. The one thing that stayed consistant throughout my childhood was my ability to learn things quickly. My dad would always say "you my boy will be the one that goes to college." I thought even then, 'how would he ever afford to send me?' I guess the reality that I would never be able to afford college because of our financial status set in heavily around 10th grade; I decided that it was useless to continue to attend school and I dropped out.

I spent the next 5 years lost in a world of drugs and alcohol. When I was 18 I got in a major roll over vehicle accident that resulted in several people being injured (no one seriously) and me in jail with a DUI. My life continuously went downhill. I was admitted to the hospital on several occasions for alcohol related injuries. I spent several months in jail in the spring of 2000. The Summer of 2000 I was out of jail and doing my worst, high on drugs and up to no good. On the night of July 11, 2000, I was sitting in the parking lot of a local Indian Casino, when suddenly there was a knock on the drivers side window of the old dodge I was driving. (The car had a bad gas tank, so I was using a gas can on the passenger seat with a hose running out the passenger window under the hood to the carburetor.) It was the Lake County Sheriff and they wanted to speak to me. (I happened to be in the car drinking a beer and doing some drugs.) I was spooked and slyly hid all I could as fast as I could. I stepped out of the car and they asked me for ID. I handed them my ID thinking "oh no I am going to be cited for drinking in public and let go." Then all of a sudden I remembered I was on probation and drinking was a violation. The officer returned from his car and asked me if I was aware there was a warrant issued for my arrest? I replied, "no sir there must be a mistake!" He said no and began reading my Miranda rights. I asked him what the warrant was for and he replied Burglary. I then said this is a mistake I have never in my life committed burglary. I figured I would go in front of a Judge the following Monday and all charges would be dropped. I tried to bail out of jail, but was told it was not possible due to the fact that I was being held on a no bail hold. The charges were not dropped, so I had no choice but to fight them. I was approached by the DA on several occasions with different deals, but I was determined to fight these false accusations- especially since all four charges were felonies. 

During the first few hours in jail I was very scared due to the fact that the last time I was incarcerated I had alcoholic seizures from detoxing. This time I was smart enough to inform them that this was a possibility. I was very angry for the first few days as I could not believe I was in jail for something I did not do. I began to realize, over time, it was no accident that I was there; it was an act of God. I was not fully aware of this until many years later, but as I began to accept my situation I began to become more at peace with it. Over the next several months I worked on getting to know myself and made a plan to escape the prison of addiction. I had finally been pardoned from the prison of addiction and the jail I was currently in was merely the half-way house between me and the life I was destined to live. I reached out to an old family friend who had always told me he would be there when I was ready to get sober. Only God knows how my drug and alcohol abused mind was able to remember a phone number I had previously dialed maybe 3 times prior to calling it that day in jail. There were plenty of other numbers I had called hundreds of times that I could not remember for the life of me, but the one number that offered me hope was right there on the tip of my finger right when I needed it. I was nervous asking for the help I needed, but my nervous request was met with an eager heart of a generous man. My friend would send me fifty dollars every other week which made me comfortable as I could be in jail. He and I talked every week and made plans for me to go to Job Corps and live with him and my brother while I awaited a vacancy at the Sacramento Job Corps. I made plans and for the first time I was taking control of my life like a man should. 

Finally after several months in jail I was going to start my criminal trial. The first day of trial I was informed that the DA would like to meet with my attorney and myself before the trial began. The DA informed me after further review of the case he had decided to drop the Burglary charges and just have me plea to misdemeanor receiving stolen property charges. I told him no thanks, I had come this far and I needed to beat this case as I knew I had not committed these crimes. Then my attorney pulled me aside and said if I signed the plea I would be released that day. The DA also said he would agree to time served and only 2 years probation which could be dropped after the first year if I exhibited good behavior. I signed the deal.

I had talked to my family friend who had planned to help me get into Job Corps and give me a place to stay while I waited for a vacancy, and he was at least 3 hours away. There was one other person I talked to every week while in jail and that was another very good friend of mine. So I called this friend  for a ride to his house while I waited for my family friend. Even though I had told my friend for months I was staying clean and sober, he picked me up with several bottles of beer for the ride home. I explained to him I was serious about staying sober. The fact that he did that was very upsetting and made me realize how weak I still was against this addiction. I was worried what would happen when we got back to his house. I was afraid I would give in and drink. I was fortunate that as we pulled into the driveway of his house my old Family friend was already there to provide a clean path. 

So began the journey of sobriety and manhood. The day after I was released from jail I went to Sacramento Job Corps for a tour and enrollment. I was placed on a list and told to call weekly until there was an opening. During my wait for Job Corps I spent time around my oldest brother and his friends. Most of them drank and smoked weed, it became easier and easier with time to say no and explain my reasons for not partaking. As I waited I was exposed to my little brother's struggle with addiction. I tried to explain to him what a bad path I had been on and that was the road he was currently taking; he wanted no part of what I had to say. Needless to say twelve years have passed and he is still struggling with addiction. I count myself lucky everyday because it could have easily been me in his shoes. 

In late November 2000, I became a resident member of Sacramento Job Corps. On the first day they had us take a placement test. I quickly took the test not thinking too much about it, nor taking it too seriously. Shortly after completing the test the instructor called me into his office. I was nervous, I was thinking what did I do wrong? He said to me, why are you even here? I said, "because I have no place else to go." He said, "you have just scored the highest I have seen on this test." He added that I should go to college instead of Job Corps. I said "maybe if I ever get my life in order I will consider doing just that." I spent the next two and a half  years at Job Corps. I successfully completed my G.E.D, my high school diploma and two trades: Landscaping and Heavy Equipment Operators which led to my enrollment in the Local 3 union hall and placed with Teichert construction.

The second month I was at Sacramento Job Corps I met Corina. Her and I argued the first five minutes we knew each other and have done so ever since. At first, her and I were friends and that is all either of us wanted. I was there to focus on my future, little did I know she was to be a major part of that future. We hung out every day; we even took the same trade. After a few weeks, I began to fall for her and she for me. I was stubborn and did not want anything to complicate my plan, nor did she. We eventually began dating for two years and shortly after I began my career we moved in together, shortly after we found out we were expecting. Months went by as I worked as a heavy equipment operator which unfortunately resulted in me getting injured at work. That incident eventually led me to leave that career field and we relocated to the Bay Area. I was fortunate enough to be on unemployment while our first child, Skyler, was still a little baby which allowed us time to bond. 
Hello my name is Corina and my story begins in Benicia, California. All through life I struggled as a student, I was active, talked too much and my attention span was the size of a fly's. My parents loved me dearly and all was perfect, until something changed.  The atmosphere in my home was lonely, chaotic and confusing. I was 10 when I discovered that my mother was a severe alcoholic and my father a drug addict. Apparently in my early years they were healthy, but things changed and the fighting began. Several instances of family turmoil occured; My mom left for a year and returned to my father caring for my sister and I. He did his best and worked hard, but when my mom returned the drinking and fighting resumed. I was alone a lot. My parents would leave and go to the bars or friends houses leaving me unattended. I was old enough to stay home alone (about 10) but it was a very lonely life. No one helped with my homework anymore, no one cared if I attended school. Middle school started and I was behind instantly. I just didn't adjust well with my home-life being as it were. My dad eventually left when I was 12. Shortly after my mom sent me away to another state. I attended school there and made friends, but overall I was lonely, confused and failed at school. When I returned home for freshman year of school, I rebeled. I followed in my parents footsteps and did every drug known to man. I floated through school as if it were a place to socialize. I got into trouble, I failed in most classes and just did not care. Nothing is worse then giving up, and I had given up. At age 16, I was sent to an continuation school to which I did really well! I even had straight A's! BUT, the drugs were still a problem and I went downhill fast. Eventually my lifestyle took presidence over my education and I dropped out.