Quianni's Story: “They need to hear my story because then they could learn from it.” 

November 15, 2022

Before FareStart Quianni (she/her) would have described herself as closed off and shy. She initially felt unsure about the Barista & Customer Service Program but “I opened up because I knew that is what the community needed. They needed to hear my voice; they need to hear my story, my testimony, my journey because then they could learn from it.” 

Quianni and her family are survivors of domestic abuse, and she never wants others to struggle the way she has. The anxiety and post-traumatic stress of her trauma caused her to see herself as a people pleaser. The program not only helped her speak her truth but also helped her learn to think more about herself and to put herself first.

“I am very grateful for FareStart because this was an opportunity to connect with others and to help them understand what life is about. All these people have a story to tell and that can change everyone’s life, perspective and thought process. When we walk out of this program, we walk out as different people than we were before,” she said.  

The program also offered Quianni a space to become more social and connected. “Becoming socially active was very important for me. As I reached the age of 20, I began to distance myself from everyone, because I felt betrayed by friends and family. That’s why I can connect with everyone on this [program] and teach them that it is okay to be forgiving even though everyone else is not forgiving; we don’t have to be like everyone else.” 

Quianni graduated from the program’s Job Readiness Pathway, which is a partnership with the Y Social Impact Center, in September 2022. In the future, she hopes to start a clothing line or write a book to help struggling teens.

“I know everyone that leaves this program is going to wake up in the morning and wish they could talk to [FareStart instructors] Chermell, Kendle, Antwanette and Tanjera. I wish we could hear Peter's long talks and Shania laughing every time we crack jokes. Christine was also a big eye-opener in this program, and we appreciate her so much. This is not just a program; this became a family.”