Not Just Blowing Smoke


Written by Irene, 2018 Side by Side program graduate, along with Kassie Heisserer.

Irene first joined Side by Side in the summer of 2013: a woman determined to face whatever obstacles she needed to in order to to ultimately thrive. (Here’s how things looked when we checked in with her a couple years ago.)

Fast-forward about four-and-a-half years, from summer 2013 to January 2018, and our Side by Side program held a “graduation” celebration (a nice group dinner at a local restaurant) for Irene, who had gotten her first full-time job several months before, and who we could see was just on the cusp of breaking into a new chapter of life. Thou