Photo of a woman who is wearing a pink shirt, denim jacket, and pink earrings. She is sitting on a brown couch with a blue blanket and pillow behind her.

Meet Cristian!

Cristian grew up in the Dominican Republic, surrounded by a big family. Right before she turned 21 in 2014, she moved to the United States. Cristian left a poor political and economic climate in the Dominican Republic and wanted to go to school to create a better future for herself. When she initially moved to the United States, she lived in New York with her mother, but city life wasn’t for her. Cristian eventually moved to Burlington and lived with her brother for a few years before moving out to seek independence.

Cristian is a creative person who loves all things art, including drawing, painting, crocheting, and music. She loves decorating, and color coordinates every detail of her home. Her apartment is many shades of pastel; Every room you step into has its own unique color scheme and warmth.

When she first moved to the U.S, she only knew Spanish but had dreams of going to school to study architecture. She took three years of English before she was able to fully enroll in her architecture courses at the Community College of Vermont. Before the pandemic, Cristian was renting a room from an older couple and working at Hannaford. When the pandemic initially hit, she became homeless. The couple she was living with feared they would get sick from her working in a public place, and she lost her apartment. Cristian lived in hotels from March 2020 until November 2020. Cristian was referred to Pathways and received support throughout the entire process of finding and moving into an apartment. Cristian describes Pathways as the bridge between herself and the Champlain Housing Authority, and she says she is now in a much healthier position. Cristian is grateful that Pathways was there every step of the way. “They still check in and make sure everything is going well, and I am so grateful for that.”

Cristian grew up in a big family who bonded over cooking and a love for food. She loves to make Dominican dishes and cooks with her family when they visit. One of her favorite recent memories was making Korean Street Toast for her Pathways Service Coordinator during an early morning meeting at her apartment. She feels it is so special to be able to cook for someone; Having her own space gives her the opportunity to do so. Cristian lives with her cat Terry and loves to spend her time riding her bike, creating art, and cooking.

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