Like many new immigrants, Supinah Hodges was excited to start her first job in the United States. She had learned some English, taken computer classes, and finally gotten a job at a Dunkin Donuts in Cambridge. The hourly wages surpassed the little money she had made monthly as a family chef and housekeeper back in Indonesia.

“Your pay in a day is like a month over there,” she said.

But when Hodges became a mother, she realized she wanted more for her family. After a few years staying at home with her children, she decided to try to get her GED. Though she had difficulty passing the test, one of her teachers from her GED prep course recognized her interest in cooking and ultimately got her connected to Sharon Tulchinsky, lead financial coach at the Office of Financial Empowerment. Tulchinsky helped her sign up for the Bridge to Culinary program and checked in on her regularly during the 10-week training.

Throughout the program both Tulchinsky and Chef Timothy Tucker assisted Hodges in looking for jobs, and shortly after she finished the program she landed a position as a prep cook at the Boston Bridge Charter School. This job not only has allowed Hodges to get out of the house and work while her kids are in school but also gives her a summer vacation which she gets to spend with her family in Indonesia.

Before her new job, Hodges’ family relied on her husband’s paychecks for their day-to-day expenses. “All the pay was gone,” she said. But now with two incomes, they have been able to begin saving. Hodges is even able to send some money back to her family in Indonesia.

Over this past summer, Hodges also took a Digital Literacy course offered by the Roxbury Center for Financial Empowerment to learn about budgeting and using Microsoft PowerPoint and Excel.

Hodges is excelling at her job and loves the flexibility it allows her and the joy it brings her to serve young students at the Boston Bridge Charter School. Tulchinsky still consistently checks in with her and it makes her “feel good, like someone is looking after me,” she said.

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