Meet Bonnie

Meet Bonnie

 Bonnie left the Ground Up team when she gave birth to her adorable daughter, Orla (our new Ground Up ambassador!). When we asked her about her experience with leaving and returning to Ground Up, she shared in her own words:

Ground Up has been entirely supportive during my entire time here. But especially, as time drew closer for my daughter's induction. I believe (if I remember correctly) that I worked up until about 12 days before my daughter's birth. On the day I left, I just pulled Kes aside and let her know that "I'm just too close to delivery, and much too tired to come back next week." It was a relief to know that I wasn't going to be judged by anyone on the team. I'm pretty sure some of the team might have been getting bored with my pregnancy jokes - after getting soaked from washing dishes, I once told Julie that "I think my water broke..."

My leave from Ground Up was a lot harder than I expected it to be. Especially when you factor in all the things having a newborn demands of you! I didn't feel as supported by my housemates, like I do at Ground Up. The first three months flew by with a ton of late nights, little to no exercise, and what I remember as two showers a month. Needless to say, I was desperate for human connection (besides my partner and our new baby) and started bugging Julie about coming back to Ground Up. At first, there wasn't a position open for me to ease myself back into the workforce. After another month, Julie called and said "you should figure out baby-care, we want you to come back! First week of March." 

Coming back to Ground Up was at first intimidating. The women here were all new to me, expect for 3. Everyone seemed to fit into their own roles and I felt out of place. But that only lasted for the first week. After I got back into the groove of things, I started to build some amazing friendships. What I'm most excited about, being back, is being inspired by and being an inspiration to the women coming into our program. I've been working on building up my physical strength again and would love to learn all aspects of the kitchen. Also the business parts are extremely interesting to me, as I want to open my own jewelry store someday. 

I look forward to learning and growing more as an employee, a mother and a woman in recovery. I'm also looking into having my daughter be a spokes-baby for Ground Up! We'll see how that works!

I'm so happy to be back and I hope everyone is glad to have me here.

Meet Bonnie's adorable daughter, Orla!

  

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Bonnie is currently a member of our kitchen crew, and has been with the Ground Up team since fall of 2019. We'll let Bonnie share in her words:

I had just started to get on my feet, after years of chronic homelessness and substance abuse. I had a full-time job, doing laundry at a local 3-star hotel. I had moved out of my tent and into a roommate situation in NE Portland. I could see a light at the end of the tunnel…

 

The day I moved into the 2-bedroom apartment, officially paid our new roomie and got my key, I was “let go” from the hotel. Oh. Did I mention that I’m pregnant? Yeah, so I’m just starting my 2nd trimester when I lost my job. The roomie situation didn’t work out too well, either. My fiance and I left there, after about 75 days.

 

We stayed with family, on the conditions that we were only there to “eat and sleep.” I kept searching for work, while my fiance was dealing with some medical concerns. 

 

I had twelve job interviews, in five weeks, with nothing to show for it. 

 

Brian’s health problems were increasing and I started to feel hopeless, lost and desperate. But I continued my search for employment with determination.

 

*fast forward*

 

I bumped into a friend (now, co-worker) and explained my job hunt woes to her. She introduced me to Ground Up and gave me Julie’s email address. I emailed her the next day (I think it was Thursday) and was excited and surprised to receive a reply on Friday. The next Monday I had an interview, followed by a “working interview” on Tuesday. Needless to say, I got the job!

Bonnie Labeling Ground Up
One of the highlights of Ground Up is the community of women. We all support one another without judgement I can honestly say that I’ve NEVER felt so accepted, encouraged and enlightened at my place at work.

 

Julie and the whole team really feels like “coming home” to me.

 

Another point I feel was made, Julie (all management, really) met me where I was at. They understood and accepted my 10+ year gap in consecutive and stable employment. And I so appreciate that, and all it entails!

 

Here I am, 5 weeks away from bringing a new life into the world, and I wouldn’t be where I am, mentally or physically, without the help of all the ladies at Ground Up! As I grow rounder and less active, I am still coming to work. There is still so much for me to learn. 

 

Everyone has been super helpful, making sure I’m comfortable and well-fed. And all my needs are met, while on the clock.

 

I’m very proud to be part of the Ground Up team. Each and every day brings a new learning experience, blossoming friendships and knowledge that I’m part of the bigger picture. I look forward to continuing to grow and expand with Ground Up.

 

-Bonnie S. 

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