DJ was born and raised in Senegal, Africa. He comes from a very large family of seven brothers and seven sisters. While living in Africa, DJ experienced strenuous obstacles. As a child, he struggled to overcome hunger, diseases, and the lack of basic necessity, such as running water, electricity, and sanitation. DJ dedicated a significant amount of his childhood working in peanut fields and tending to cattle and poultry. Financially, DJ never had the money to afford anything new. He wanted a different life for himself, so he decided to leave his village and make some money. With only four bags of peanuts and a fierce determination to start a new life, DJ sold his peanuts and made enough money to buy and resell goods ranging from goats, sheep, rice, clothes, and shoes. Once DJ had a substantial amount of money, he decided to buy an airline ticket to the United States with the hopes of starting a new life in the land of opportunity. The next 17 years did not prove to be very fruitful. DJ bounced from one dead-end job to the next. Most of his money he received went to bills and to his family back in Africa. DJ also struggled with discrimination, which only made the notion of the American Dream as nothing more than an illusion. In 2012, DJ lost his job and was living off unemployment benefits, but eventually, he became homeless. After two years of living on the streets and by the grace of God, DJ was rescued by PATH (People Aiding The Homeless). In 2015, DJ transferred to Leonide SRO and started his own mobile car washing business. You can check it
Adriane Dos Santos
Adriane Dos Santos was born and raised in Brazil. She came to the United States in 2003 and helped establish a cleaning business, in which she still works remotely. As early as 10 years old, Adriane went through a series of abusive relationships which she continued into adulthood. At the age of 20, Adriane knew she needed to leave Brazil and pursue a better life for herself and her family, so she decided to come to the United States alone. Leaving her family was one of the hardest things she has ever done. Fortunately, Adriane was able to provide for her family while living in California but ended up in another abusive relationship that she is still dealing with today. Adriane refused to have a victim's mentality and decided to stay positive and proactive. Thankfully, through hard work and prayer, Adriane found her purpose through her art sculptures. She is currently working on developing her art business and striving for a more sustainable future for herself and her family. View her Fine Art business here.
After being on the streets of downtown LA and dealing with drug abuse, David decided to leave that toxic environment and get sober. During rehab, David started painting as a creative outlet. Upon graduating the Microenterprise Program in Fall of 2015, David created his own art business, Askewed Art which focuses on creative animal paintings and lifestyle paintings. David is now clean and sober, has stable housing, and is ready to build out his new found art business.
Xavier Harding was a graduate of the Spring 2017 semester of the Microenterprise Program. Upon graduation, Xavier founded Precise Inspections, a welding inspection service. As a Level 2 Inspector and visual weld specialist, Xavier has experience with casting, steel, and numerous alloys and personally specializes in critical parts, and aluminum welds with over 20,000 feet of weld inspected. As of August 2017, Xavier became a Level 2 Inspector for Space X.
Crystal graduated in the Fall of 2016 and has been a huge success with her food business, Red Fire Tacos. Since graduation, she catered multiple weddings, business luncheons, and Pepperdine events. When she is not making delicious tacos, Crystal has a full-time job with Ralphs and was recently promoted to Assistant Manager. When Crystal first joined the Microenterprise Program, she was staying at the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission, but in February of 2018, she purchased her own home in Palmdale, CA, with the help of the extra income from her growing small business.
Ileana Vargas is 25 years old and a proud mother of two. Ileana became a mother when she was 19 years old and has experienced domestic abuse from the father of her children. At times, Ileana ended up sleeping on the streets with her kids because of the father’s drug issues. After 5 years of hardship, Ileana decided to make a change in her life. She got into the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission and started improving her living situation. Today, she started her own beauty product business, Mathew’s Rose, named after her son. Her mission is to increase inner and outer health by offering unique, and natural beauty products to enrich the lives of individuals of all ages. Products include bubble bath bombs and detox soaks, pro-youth facial exfoliators, cleansers, toners, and elaborate handmade soap bars primarily composed of high quality and organic ingredients.
Shirley Trammell is a single mother to three boys, ages 22, 15 and 5. Shirley has always worked jobs that she disliked hoping that one day she would become a manager or supervisor. After being tired of not pursuing her dream of being a cosmetologist, she quit her job and enrolled in cosmetology school. She paid her bills with student loans. Overtime, Shirley ended up homeless with her 5-year-old son. In October of 2016, Shirley was able to secure a place at the San Fernando Rescue Mission (SFRM). While at SFRM, she was introduced to the Microenterprise Program and decided to apply. Today, Shirley has her own apartment with her kids and is working as a cosmetologist. She also started her own hair extension business, Shelley Rose. You can view her site here: shelleyrosebeauty
After having two children and surviving domestic abuse, Tierra discovered her passion to make healthy beauty products that promote a healthier and clean lifestyle. Tierra’s candles were created just for that purpose with flavors such as Mint Mojito, Grapefruit Mangosteen, Citrus Mandarin, and Sage Pomegranate, you won’t be disappointed with these amazing handmade candles. All ingredients are organic and safe for the environment.
Crafted 112 is a unique sub-brand of the Microenterprise Program. Crafted 112 was created for individuals who specialized in a certain craft such as leather bag making, candle making, and ceramics, just to name a few. Crafted 112 produces products that are handmade with high quality, while offering clients employment. Each product sold keeps an Entrepreneur in Training (EIT) employed and off the streets in search of a better life for themselves.