- Notes from Debbie Wilber, Evergreen’s Youth Development Manager
When Ambrosia was a teenager, her father introduced her to marijuana to calm her down. His drug addiction worsened, so Ambrosia and her sister went to live with their mother. She became abusive, so it was back to dad. Before long, Ambrosia left home and lived on the streets for 5 years. She worked a series of internships for "street kids" and eventually got into the basic culinary program at Job Corps. While homeless, Ambrosia managed to get her GED and eventually her high school diploma. At Job Corps, she re-opened a run down espresso stand to serve fellow students. She came to us highly recommended from Job Corps, but uncertain of her direction and lacking the confidence to move ahead.
- At Evergreen
Ambrosia worked as a clerk in Evergreen's general store, which provided opportunities to learn about the retail business and to further develop her barista skills. She struggled during the first few weeks with closing out the cash register each night, but with training and continual support from her supervisor and others, she significantly improved. From day one, Ambrosia was natural and friendly in her interactions with guests, and with coaching, she became more professional and began to learn about merchandising and sales.
- On a personal note, Ambrosia decided after her hike during the
interview process that she wanted to lose weight. She stopped drinking soda, and by the time she
arrived to start her Evergreen internship, she'd already lost 20 pounds. While at the lodge, with
support and encouragement from many people, she lost nearly another 20 pounds. She also
significantly reduced the number of cigarettes she smoked. The hikes were especially challenging
for her. She was pushed to her limit at times, and learned that it was as much, if not more, a
mental challenge than a physical one. The hikes became a highlight for Ambrosia, as she surprised
herself with how much she could accomplish and took pleasure in finding a healthy activity that she
- Moving on from the lodge was a scary endeavor for Ambrosia. Afraid that she'd end
up homeless again, she was almost paralyzed by fear. However, we worked through the job search
process step-by-step, creating a resume, writing a cover letter, practicing interviewing, searching
for and eventually applying for jobs online. Ambrosia left the lodge with several interviews set up
back home in Washington.
- After Evergreen
Before long, Ambrosia secured a job working as a breakfast line cook with Marriott. She's excited to be back in the kitchen. With the money that she saved at the Evergreen, Ambrosia was able to find an affordable apartment where she lives with a friend. Ambrosia keeps in touch with folks at the Evergreen and continues to reach out for guidance and support when she faces challenges at home or at work. She's working on keeping her weight off – says she really misses the hikes – and is even teaching herself Spanish, because "there's way too many Mexican people I work with not to be able to talk to them." Ambrosia has gained a self-confidence which, combined with her passion and talents, will propel her forward to wonderful things in life.