In Your Community
ABC7 Pay It Forward: Second chance for sober mom
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A Los Angeles woman is improving her life. Her plan to become a substance abuse counselor is coming together thanks to one special person.
Pamela Diaz is lucky to be alive, much less be working as a server. She was born to a mother who was so addicted to meth, she was put in foster care as a kid.
It wasn't long until Pamela was a meth-addicted mother herself, who also had her kids taken away from her. When Pamela wound up behind bars she decided to re-focus her life.
Substance abuse counselors helped change her life and she completed a treatment program. Then she headed to Homebody Industries looking for a job.
"She came to turn her life around," said Erin Gutierrez, Pam's Homeboy Industries case manager.
Homeboy offers a variety of services for recently imprisoned and at-risk youth. Their motto is "Jobs Not Jails," and they offer job training in their on-site restaurants.
Pamela quickly excelled there, so much so that she was able to set up a reunion with her kids she once lost.
She recently moved into her own apartment and started a training program to become a substance abuse counselor herself. The problem? It costs $1,000 to finish, and Pamela is $300 short.
"This would be perfect for her in order for her to get through school and complete her goals," said Erin.
We surprised Pamela during her shift.
"You've been doing such a great job and I wanted to give you this $500 to help you pay for school," Erin told Pamela.
Pamela says she's been sober for three years now, and it's her kids that keep her strong.
"I've been through a lot," said Pamela. "I've been through a whole lot and I never thought I was going to get out of it."
She's thrilled for the chance to now pay forward the lessons her counselors taught her.
"At one point I thought of giving up. I knew I was too strong to give up and I didn't, and my life is great today because I didn't give up," said Pamela.
charity, in your community, elex michaelson
- 4 kids abducted by parents in Boyle Heights
- Woman's remains, clothes found at Orange County wilderness park
- Malaysia missing jet: Focus turns to pilots
- Comedian David Brenner dies at age 78
- Tustin theater evacuated for investigation
- Burbank stabbing leaves 2 in serious condition
- High-speed chase leads to arrests, 5 injuries
- Young woman's body found in Santa Paula park
- Brush fire erupts in Thermal, near Indio
- abcnews: NJ mom who hired hit man speaks out
- Ukraine: Russian forces move outside Crimea
- Sailor in iconic WWII kissing photo dies
- Honda Odysseys recalled amid fuel leak fears
- OTRC: Jamie Lynn Spears, 22, gets married - report