To the average person driving down Eye Street in Downtown Bakersfield, Encore Boutique may seem like just a store, but for those that work there they say it means so much more.
“My life has changed drastically, Aujanae Reese Missionary in Training Sales Associate at Encore Boutique said. “I have hope today versus when I didn’t have hope.”
Reese says she grew up in Wasco and spent many years walking its streets, unable to hold down a substantial job. She came to the Lee & Krystyna Jamieson Recovery home for women and children for help to overcome her addiction to drugs. Now one year later, things are looking up for her.
“It's guided me and helped me get my life on the right path, and for that I am grateful,” Reese said.
Many customers who step inside Encore Boutique may meet reese. She says greeting them is her favorite part of working there as a sales associate, and as they come and go, Reese plans to “stay right here! Just to keep flourishing and growing as God leads me,” she said.
She recently went from volunteer to employee, which she plans to continue even after her program with The Mission at Kern County is over. Working retail at Encore is one of the myriad of job programs offered to those The Mission helps.
“We really believe that a person has to be whole: clean, sober, on a path to success,” Carlos Baldovinos, Executive director at The Mission at Kern County said. “That includes education, employment and housing.”
Other opportunities offered are landscaping, assistance with obtaining a GED and CompTIA certification.
“It’s similar to what the Geek Squad does with Best Buy to certify somebody,”
Baldovinos explained. “It's called A+ certification.”
The Mission also gives all the people they help a chance to work in administration or in its kitchen, where they train them and can help them get a food handler’s certificate.
Baldovinos adds that the rehabilitation program is adjusted to a person’s needs, at a pace that will help them successfully make it on their own post-program.
“We all want measurables and goals to aspire to, so that’s what we do with each person as they go through different phases of their program,” Baldovinos said. “We have found that that has been successful.”
Plus, the mission is also planning on opening a transitional housing option for women after they go through the 18-month rehabilitation program.
And as you know, the Bakersfield Baby Shower is just around the corner on November 19 at 23ABC studios (321 21st Street in Downtown Bakersfield). Here’s a list of desired donation items to help local mothers. You can discover all the programs and resources The Mission at Kern County offers here.