In 2004, Jesenia Arias was living in a shelter and relying on food pantries to feed herself and her new son. These days, her life looks very different.
As Executive Administrative Assistant here at Step Up, Jesenia is integral to the management of our organization. She’s recently completed her Masters Degree in Business Leadership. She has volunteered for many years in church pantries. And she’s currently adopting a three year-old who she has been fostering since the age of three months.
She’s worked hard to make it this far, but Jesenia knows that hard work alone isn’t enough. Many folks are not as lucky, and are not able to escape circumstances like those she experienced. With this awareness, Jesenia takes pride in helping produce a positive impact for those who need it most.
How did she go from the shelter to the Step Up for Better Living executive office? For Jesenia, it all comes down to compassion.
Born and raised in the South Bronx, Jesenia has a deep understanding of the needs of the borough. Her personal background has given her insight into both sides of social services. When she joined the Step Up family in September of 2019, Jesenia recognized her unique opportunity to make a difference. She felt that Step Up aligned with her core values, and was somewhere she could serve her community.
Back in that shelter, where she used to live, Jesenia wished she’d had help from a place like Step Up. Now, she works to offer that help, and compassion, for others. She knows the feelings of depression and loneliness all too well, and strives to help community members know that they are not alone.
“People just need a helping hand,” she says. “They need to know that there is a way to overcome.”
With folks like Jesenia Arias stepping up to provide that helping hand, we’re optimistic. Thanks, Jesenia.