25 Stories: Celeste


December 07, 2012



When Celeste, a 30-year-old Hispanic woman, moved to Indiana from another state, she had planned to support herself through her profession as a nail stylist. What she didn't know was that Indiana requires a license to do nails, meaning that she would have to go back to school to continue supporting herself, despite her experience and track record as a nail stylist. Celeste, who is HIV+, was unable to pay her rent and utilities, and quickly became depressed about her inability to support herself.

According to a case manager at The Damien Center, she was moving into a "very dark place." Celeste was encouraged to apply for and was accepted to the HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS) program, a long-term housing assistance program for people who are HIV+. This housing assistance allowed her the freedom to return to school to obtain the necessary license, enabling her to once again begin earning an income. Celeste is now in the process of transitioning off of the HOPWA program and even recently won a competition for nail design. None of this would have been possible without the assistance provided by The Damien Center. Today, Celeste has emerged from her depression and is proud of where her life is headed as a strong, HIV+ woman.

Celeste's story is one of hundreds like it: she was in a desperate place in her life, The Damien Center empowered her to find assistance in turning her life around, and now she's stronger and healthier because of it. Celeste's story is also part of our 25th anniversary year-end giving campaign. You can read more impact stories like hers and make a donation on our website. Make more success stories possible!