SCC: Hi Jerica, please tell us a little about yourself.
JW: My name is Jerica Washington. I’m 31 years old. I served in the U.S. Air Force. I’ve been home from the military now since 2015. I recently graduated from Anna Maria College in 2020. I grew up in Boston, which is where I work now.
SCC: Volunteering is clearly important to you. Can you describe some of your service experience?
JW: I’ve been a volunteer with AmeriCorps and volunteered in service to America. I also serve at a call to talk center and take calls to intervene and help prevent suicide. My volunteer experiences help my personality shine, but I do it because I want to see my community shine.
SCC: Where does that strength come from?
JW: I didn’t realize it was a strength, but the ability certainly stems from a life of knowing what it’s like to not have it. And faith based communities have influenced me and helped me to feel inspired to do a lot more for others.
SCC: What was your experience after the military?
JW: I got a merit scholarship to get an undergraduate degree.
One thing led to another and I accomplished a masters in business administration. What I wanted to do, I worked toward it. Life was difficult. Life was hard. But it was my life.
SCC: So what led to you connecting with Second Chance Cars?
JW: I bought my car, set up the payments, and paid it off. And then the car broke down completely and I was barely securing a part-time job because I was transitioning out of a major loss in the family. As I was recovering financially and grieving I really felt pushed to my ends. I called 211 and inquired about what resources were available to someone who may need help with a vehicle. I was reconnected with Veterans Inc and they connected me with Second Chance Cars. I was still very humble. I didn’t know if it was the right time for me to ask for help. That was my inner battle.
SCC: We were so happy to connect with someone as deserving as you. How are things going now?
JW: I’m so happy to have met Veterans Inc and to have met Second Chance Cars. I’m very thankful for the way it was all set up. It doesn’t feel like a handout at all. I’m almost through making the loan payments on my “new” 2006 Honda Accord. It’s quite an easy loan payment and boost in my credit score. It’s helped me to not only secure a part-time weekend job, but also a full-time weekday job serving the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I can see myself as someone who can get to a position where maybe I’ll run a nonprofit. I’m working on it. It’s a work in progress.