By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen | email@example.com | Vallejo Times Herald
Lauren Jones’ family came to Vallejo from all over the Bay Area to attend her graduation from welding school. The achievement was monumental considering the odds were stacked against her making it this far.
Jones, 30, who lives in a Vallejo Together women’s sober living home, said her life fell apart after her brother died under mysterious circumstances in Newark at the age of 37.
“I was homeless for four years off and on,” she said. “I couldn’t hold a job. I had problems with drugs and alcohol and ended up in jail.”
Upon her release, Jones said she enrolled in a local drug rehab program called the Shamia Recovery Center, and got involved with Maria Guevara’s Vallejo Together group’s efforts on behalf of the local homeless population, she said.
She then decided to act on her lifelong dream to follow her iron-worker father into that trade and become an underwater welder, which requires training.
When Guevara realized that Jones didn’t qualify for typical scholarships for this training, she launched a new scholarship in her name — Laura’s Fund — and it was with this help that Jones took and completed the Benicia-based Gladiator Iron Workers Apprenticeship Program.
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