Meet Jessica Bruno, who is involved in our coaching program and enrolled in the Power of Parenting classes here at USES.
“Sometimes we lose sight of the things that really need our attention like being a good parent and how to best do this. I am personally really hard on myself. Oftentimes we don’t want to confront what we aren’t doing well or need help with. These resources make you reflect in a positive way and give you opportunities to make a change.”
Can you tell us about yourself and your life growing up?
I grew up in New York but have been in Boston for quite some time. I moved here around eight years old. Growing up I lost my mom at a young age so my aunt took over and raised me and my sister as a single parent. Once I came to Boston I was raised in Dorchester, and moved out at the age of 19 and got my own place. I started working and have pretty much been on my own since. At age 27 I became a parent to my son, Jaelyn who is five.
What was going on in your life before joining USES and coaching?
When I first started working before I moved out I had a few different jobs at Star Market and Crispy Cream. Then I moved out and found a great job as a Mental Health Counselor. From there I went on to work at Mass General for twelve years, however; recently stopped working. After this happened I encountered some legal stuff that I am currently working out but it put me a little off track.
How did you hear about coaching and what made you decide to sign up?
I initially started coaching when my son was here at USES, which was about two years ago. Coaching was something I heard about and knew I wanted to do. I have always been someone who wanted to get their life on track even without having a lot of money, I wanted to do things right.
What were some initial goals you set for yourself in coaching?
Initially I set a few different goals which were improving my credit score, getting a better job, and improving my interviewing skills. My interviewing skills are something we put a lot of time into. Right now I am still working on some of those goals. Initially my credit score increased a lot while in coaching but due to my current financial situation it is something I am still improving. My interviewing skills have definitely improved a lot, and in addition my coach helped me get the appropriate professional clothing for potential interviews.
What are some goals you have accomplished while in coaching?
Currently my coach is really helping me refocus especially because I am not working my financial situation has become more difficult. I still try and pay my credit card bills on time because there were a few months when I got off track and everything went crazy. When this happened phones kept ringing and it got really stressful so I immediately started to try and get back on track. Sometimes you think you know it all and are all set but having someone there to help you outline a plan and prioritize is really helpful.
What is something you are proud to have accomplished in coaching?
My interviewing skills have improved a lot. This is a huge deal for me, you have no idea, unless you are someone who struggles with anxiety, and know how interviewing can be really hard. All the signs used to come out in interviews that I was nervous, the sweaty palms, racing heart, and no matter how much I rehearsed I would forget everything when I stepped into the interview. This was really embarrassing and became a barrier for me. Coaching really helped me overcome this barrier. My coach helped me come up with a pitch and we would rehearse it. Once I had this down I was going into interviews and getting really positive responses that showed progress.
What is your favorite part of coaching?
I would say my favorite part of coaching is having that support and assistance. Everybody needs it, it doesn’t matter how much you think you know at all. It helps having someone know more specific resources and tools to help you accomplish whatever it is you want. Now that I have been in coaching for two years there are times when we meet less often like once a month or every two months but I know if something comes up and I need coaching it is available as a resource. My coach knows me very well at this point and I feel comfortable reaching out.
If you were recommending coaching to someone what would you tell them to encourage them to try it?
Coaching is exactly how it sounds. It is a guiding resource that provides a helping hand through certain things. Coaches have resources and knowledge that you might not have. There are so many different things they can help you with and it is a consistent relationship.
You are someone who has been increasingly more involved in USES through the Power of Parenting, and different USES events such as the Movie Night, and the Financial Check Up: What made you decide to become more involved?
I am really trying to focus on being a more well rounded person. This includes my overall well-being, including my mental well-being, being a better parent, practicing more patience, working on my finances etc.
Have you noticed any immediate benefits or changes from your involvement?
Yes I have noticed beneficial changes in my relationship with my son. Specifically from the Power of Parenting and events like the movie night that involve parents and kids, I can see our interactions have changed. I try and ask him more insightful questions about what he is thinking. This happens even at home now when we watch movies together I will try and ask him reflective questions which now prepares him to pay attention and process his thoughts and feelings. I also understand his personality better which has changed our interactions.
What would you tell other parents to get them more involved or why should other parents become more involved?
I would say all of these resources have really helped me refocus what I need to get my attention on. Sometimes we lose sight of the things that really need our attention like being a good parent and how to best do this. I am personally really hard on myself. Oftentimes we don’t want to confront what we aren’t doing well or need help with. These resources make you reflect in a positive way and give you opportunities to make a change. I also can say you will start to build a community. Through the other parents, coaches and everyone in general I feel very supported. I have had more chances to sit and enjoy meals with other parents, and watch our kids play together, which is something my son looks forward to because he is a only child.