A Mistake Cannot Define You

Updated: Dec 5, 2018


Oakland resident Sylvia is a testament to the truth that one mistake shouldn't define a person. Yet her run-in with the law 13 years ago means she has struggled to find a job. Though her search brought her to OPIC and a job at the Unity Council where she now works as a program assistant, the journey has not been an easy one.


Many times during her long job search, she almost reached a breaking point. “I kept thinking my record would deter me from getting a job. I felt hopeless,” Sylvia said, overcome with emotion.


Through a collaboration with the Unity Council Sylvia was referred to the OPIC where she met counselors Louis King and Ellen Hoeft Edenfield. Their support and resources helped restore her hope in gaining employment despite her previous history. “I met Mr. King and he gave me really good hope,” she said. “He told me, 'We can help you.' And then they did!"


As Sylvia looks toward the future, she wants to share the gift she received from OPIC. She hopes to find a support group where she can help others who have a prior record find employment. In the meantime, Sylvia looks forward to growing in her job and applying her computer and language skills to help her community. “I’m very grateful for organizations like Unity Council and Oakland PIC. They really care about people. They made me feel comfortable and okay in dealing with my issue.”


(Sylvia’s last name has been omitted from the article to protect her identity).