Trudy lived at Shepherd’s Field off and on during her teen years while undergoing plastic surgery to treat burns on her face and hands. She was not an orphan but still needed medical care and vocational training. Philip Hayden Foundation became extended family to Trudy, offering support and encouragement when she began to look for her first job. Her dream was to work in a restaurant. Trudy returned to PHF in 2019 at the age of 18 for help in finding a job. Trudy shares, “I was so excited and full of happiness. I felt like I was home.”
Holding a job provides more than income. It also offers a connection to other people and a sense of belonging. These are crucial to long-term flourishing. Trudy was very nervous as she began the job search with the help of Teacher Wang. Trudy remembers the discouragement as business after business said, “do not hire her – it will affect our business.” Trudy was so thankful for Teacher Wang, who continued to encourage her and remind her of her capabilities. The support of a mentor was crucial for Trudy during this daunting process.
But negative attitudes and fears in society are often a more imposing barrier to employment. Another barrier is low levels of education and skills. Philip Hayden Foundation is working in China and expanding into Mexico to address these two barriers.
Finally, Trudy found a restaurant looking for a dishwasher, and they agreed to give Trudy a chance. Trudy remembers her fears, “The day I found it, I was very happy, excited and hesitant. I’m afraid I can’t do well in this first job in my life. But with their [PHF staff’s] encouragement and reminding me, ‘this is like what you do at home. As long as you work hard, the hotel owner will know.‘” Trudy worked there until 2021, when she returned home to help her mother.
Trudy’s first job experience helped her when she began to look for another job in her hometown in 2022. She recalls, “I came out to find a job by myself. At that time, I was looking for a job for several days. Later, I finally found a restaurant to work in. I heard the boss say that the girl will not affect our business, and he also said that recruiting people is not a beauty pageant. She can work, and she has work experience.” The encouragement from Teacher Wang and her success at her job in Tianjin gave Trudy confidence in her job search, resulting in a good position.