BRIDGEPORT - A single mother from Bridgeport is celebrating her first full year of employment after spending her entire life on welfare.

On Mother's Day, Monica Jackson will be celebrating the one-year anniversary at her current position as personal assistant to the plant manager at waste-management company Wheelabrator Bridgeport.

Jackson says the job has transformed her life by getting her off of state benefits for the first time. She says the job has also boosted her self-esteem and helped complete her journey to a better life.

"I'm not just sitting in the house drinking coffee and watching ‘Maurey,’" she says. "I want to get up and I want to do something better."

Jackson says she began as a volunteer, where her skills as an organizer caught the attention of the person who eventually hired her. 

She says for the first time, she can think about things like home ownership and what colleges her 10-year-old son might someday attend.

When she celebrates Mother's Day on Sunday, Jackson says she will also be celebrating the independence she has won for herself and her son. 

"That's what Mother's Day means for me this year, I'm going to share it with the other piece of my heart," she says.