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“When I came here, I knew this was a place to set a solid foundation for my family and for myself.”

Maria Tzintzun came to the Village of Hope in 2009, seeking a new start from a nightmarish life of abuse, poverty and addiction. Her past choices had led her to the breaking point — the day when she watched in anguish as her children were taken out of her custody and into foster care. Determined to prove to the court that she was a capable parent, Maria poured herself into getting them back. She entered and completed rehab, and shortly thereafter was given provisional custody of her three children.

With the three kids in tow, Maria made a new home at the Village, re-establishing her family as the priority in her life. From the start, Maria has had clear, positive goals: maintain sobriety, build a support system and learn to provide for her family. The Orange County Rescue Mission has provided the framework to do this, and Maria’s energy and focus have fueled her overwhelming success. The ultimate foundation of all of that is her new relationship with God. She says, “I’ve learned to give my problems to God and trust that He will take care of me.”

After months of consistency and meeting all of her requirements, Maria was awarded full custody of her children in July 2010. Maria’s social worker was absolutely blown away by the progress he has witnessed — confident enough in her transformation to recommend the case be closed. More than three years of monitoring came to an end when the court officially did just that.

That wasn’t the only accomplishment of the summer. In August, Maria graduated from Taller San Jose’s Office Careers Academy with flying colors. In recognition of her leadership qualities, Maria was chosen by her peers to be the keynote speaker for her class.

Her training to be an administrative assistant is one of many skills that Maria has obtained in her time at the Village of Hope, which she says “has rescued me and my family.” A new career and optimistic future ahead, Maria is certain of the fact that her priorities, and her family, are in the right place.

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