Joleen Hosler, a single mother, trims up a fluffy poodle at It's a Dog's World, 915 E. Fort Lowell Road, where she's a groomer and owner of the business. She's worked at the business seven years and became the sole proprietor of the shop earlier this year.


When Joleen Hosler was 6, she watched her mother abandon her little sister. The baby was left, strapped in a car seat, in an apartment until her father came home from work hours later.

Hosler endured sexual and physical abuse, witnessed domestic violence daily and ran away when she was 16.

At 21, she was unemployed, addicted to crystal methamphetamine - and the mother of a baby boy. Less than a year later, she had a second son.

Both boys were taken away within five months, and Hosler's addiction, homelessness and pain continued. Finally, at age 24 and after giving up her parental rights, she decided she'd had enough.

Now 31, Hosler has been sober seven years. She's paid off fines, obtained her driver's license and, earlier this year, became the owner of a pet-grooming business where she's worked for years.

"I am so grateful for my life every single day," she says.

She now has a 4-year-old daughter, whom she has raised with the guidance of Child and Family Resources' Healthy Families program.

"I still considered myself pretty fresh in my sobriety, even though it had been three-plus years," Hosler says of the time when her daughter was born and she started the program.

Child and Family Resources offers an array of services related to poverty and single parenthood.

"We try to support the family in many ways and help parents be the best they can be," says Ellie Jimenez, the program director for Arizona.

The Healthy Families approach is used throughout the country and even internationally to help families stay together, rise out of poverty and end cycles of abuse and neglect.

"In our society, being able to provide for your family is such a big piece of who you are," Jimenez says. "Not being able to do that really impacts self worth and hurts relationships with children."

Hosler has been grateful to have a caseworker help her learn to set goals and follow through on them.

"I've completed every single goal I've set for the last five years," she says. "Some were simple, like getting family photos done, and some were difficult, like getting my driver's license."

She says she has learned a great deal about managing her life and raising her child, things she was never taught as a child.

"If I didn't have Child and Family Resources, it wouldn't be right there in front of me like that," she says.

She says seeing a therapist through Child and Family Resources has also been wonderful.

"I have been dealing with all the things I went through when I was growing up. Working through this is so important to me now. To present to my daughter the person I want her to become, I need to be that person and lead through example."

Contact reporter Patty Machelor at 806-7754 or