The Power of Resilience
Emerlinda, “Emmie” was born and raised in the Philippines. Her family lived in poverty. She says, “I valued hard work, perseverance, resilience, and optimism.” These are the core values she learned at an early age. Her father was a Security Guard and her mother was a homemaker. She said, “I needed to work to help my parents at a young age. I saw how they work really hard to meet our needs. It was a constant struggle for survival.”
Emmie worked hard to financially support herself through college. She got married at the age of 31. Her first husband was a hard drinker, smoked heavily and was physically and verbally abusive. At age 32, Emmie gave birth to her only child, a daughter. “It wasn’t a good marriage,” she says pointedly. Nevertheless, she stayed with him until she was able to get to the United States. She lived with her sister in New York, then moved to California after a month and eventually she settled in Minnesota.
Emmie married her second husband after ten years on her own. Unfortunately, he was also very abusive. He had begun the process of petitioning for Emmie’s daughter to be able to come to join them; but he frequently threatened to “pull the petition.” She ended up seeking help at a battered women’s shelter because of the domestic violence. That program helped her cope with the pain and loss. She attended group activities with other abuse survivors. She began the process of petitioning for her daughter herself. That program also helped her file a restraining order. She moved into a friend’s basement and lived there for a while.
Emmie first heard about Life-Work Planning Center (LWPC) through her friends. She was introduced to the Life-Work Planning Center Self-Sufficiency Counselor and says, “She helped me with a lot of things. I was able to work through my divorce and completed it with the guidance and financial help of Life-Work Planning Center. The organization gave me financial assistance and the emotional support I needed while trying to start over.”
Emmie says, “During this time, I felt so lost and so alone and I needed strong support and information about my rights and the resources available to me.” Emmie faced a diagnosis of breast cancer and had medical bills from a previous knee surgery that LWPC was able to help her with both emotionally and financially.
Because Emmie’s partner had driven her deeply into debt, Life-Work Planning Center helped her find resources to work on her finances and to consolidate her debt. The Self-Sufficiency Counselor also assisted Emmie to complete the immigration papers for her daughter. LWPC also helped Emmie to find her own apartment. Throughout her time with Life-Work Planning Center, Emmie was also attending the workshops on personal growth.
She says, “The workshops helped me work on my confidence level, assertive communication, boundary issues, stress management, decision making, and goal setting” She goes on to say, “LWPC was very helpful to me. With this help, I found my own strength, and worked on myself so that I know I can take care of myself. I found a new positive outlook in life. I am so thankful for LWPC in helping me go through all of these life transitions!”
Emmie states she is taking each day one at a time and just enjoying every moment. “I am happy that I got my life back on track now and I am also helping other women help themselves.”
Emmie goes on to say, “LWPC has helped me learn a lot about myself and focus on myself first.” She realized that it’s never too late to set new goals, go for it and always have faith and hope for the best. She recognizes that she has always been resilient but she had real difficulty asking for help. Emmie says she has learned that it’s okay to ask for help. “There are organizations that can help you navigate and guide you until you feel comfortable to handle life transitions and LWPC did that to me.”
Emmie really wanted to share her story and her experience here at Life-Work Planning Center. She says, “It’s helped me build a good foundation for my ‘new’ life.” Emmie really wanted other women, including her daughter (and maybe someday grandchildren) to learn from her experiences about the power of resilience.