Tyeka grew up in the foster care system, shuffling between homes and group care in MA and NY. She aged out of the foster care system at seventeen and in her words, she was in and out of trouble and dead-end jobs for a couple of years after that. She is a single mom. She became an apprentice carpenter six years ago, and credits the Carpenters Union for turning her life around. She is now a journey-level carpenter, recently became a union steward (the union’s point person on jobs), and three years ago bought her own home in Springfield. Earning a good living from one job has enabled her to coach her son’s t-ball and basketball teams and stay active in her community.
Having stable finances has been awesome for me and my son. This work has taught me discipline and it makes me feel good as a person to not be struggling. I can be a better parent to my son. Being in the union has helped me build strong friendships and develop mentors who have given me guidance on building a new life and not slipping back into my old ways.
Journey-level Carpenter, member since 2012, union steward, union delegate