John Sablan, Jr. – Elena Gardens

Elena Gardens Resident Story EAH Housing

Elena Gardens Resident Story EAH HousingJohn Sablan is moving up in the world. Just one year ago he was living with his mom and dad and two siblings, and struggling to pay half the rent for their 3-bedroom apartment. He was confused about what steps he should take to improve his situation. He did not know where to start and had little idea about what options might be available to him. EAH resource coordinator Vera at Elena Gardens, changed all that.

Vera encouraged John to consider a variety of work and school opportunities through a program called “San Jose One-Stop.” This youth program helped John to make the decision to enroll in three months of trade school. After completion of the school, Vera and volunteers at the resource center helped him to put his resumé together and to find a great job at the Doubletree Hotel in room service.

Once John had secured his new position, he was ready to move out of his parent’s apartment. At 22 years old, he was ready to spread his wings and live on his own. Yet, it seemed impossible to continue paying half of his parents rent, and to come up with a deposit for a new place of his own. Then, EAH helped him out again.

A one-bedroom apartment became available in the same community at Elena Gardens, and EAH worked with John to create a signed agreement that allowed him to make monthly payments to secure his deposit. In May of 2005, John moved into his own apartment.

John has been working at the Doubletree Hotel since December of 2005, and he loves his job. His goal is to move up in the hotel, to work at the front desk and to become a manager. He’s saving his money so that one day he can move into a house, although he says it will be hard to leave his community at Elena Gardens where he grew up.

John loves his new home and says that his friends are impressed when they come to visit. He says that his apartment is big and beautiful, and located close to the light rail transit that he takes to work. He is happy that his neighbors are primarily multi-cultural families with children. “I’m almost like a parent to many of the kids,” he says. They all know John because he grew up in the community and he takes the time to play baseball and stick ball with them.

John is planning to join the Big Brother program so that he can be a mentor to another child in addition to the ones he sees every day. He has also been invited to participate in the Youth Council that helps make decisions for the San Jose One-Stop program that helped him get to where he is today. “I’m absolutely blessed,” he says. “ I want to give back to my community in whatever ways I can.”