As a staff, we love it when David* comes in for his weekly appointments. He is personable and easy to like. You can often find him telling staff about his daughters or talking about how much he loved dancing as a younger man. “I loved every style- Jazz, ballet, tap, footwork, hip hop. I was always the life of the party.” “When you dance now, does it embarrass your daughters?” Shalom asked him during their last meeting. “No, no of course not. I’m really good. It’s not embarrassing when I dance.”
To meet David is to become his friend. When asked to describe himself, he paused a moment and replied simply “I try. That’s all I can say. I try my hardest. I try to always tell the truth. I always say that I never lie because if I’m ever abducted by aliens, I need my friends to believe me.” His last comment results in friendly chuckles from the staff in the conference room.
He is open and eager to learn and to work hard. He has held a variety of jobs over the last twenty years, most recently working with machinery in a local factory. He lost his job due to downsizing and came to Hope Works to create a new resume and to get help looking for and applying to jobs. If you were to sit in on a meeting between him and a community advocate, it would quickly become clear that he is committed to being a good employee. For him, not only does he want to have a good work ethic, but a paycheck allows him to care for his seven children. He beams with pride as he talks about his daughter’s math skills. “She’s really good with numbers, I don’t know how she does it. I never liked math.” He shakes his head and laughs. David continues “My daughter’s sweet sixteen birthday party is next week. It’s going to be perfect but it has been a lot of work. We’ve spent weeks planning.” Shalom has him promise that he’ll tell her about the party next time as they schedule another appointment.
At Hope Works, Shalom and her team get to do more than just help people to prepare for interviews or fill out forms. They learn their stories and bond over the things they have in common. Hope Works is a community inside of a community where people talk about their families and their hobbies. Everyone who comes through our door brings their story with them and at Hope Works we get to be part of those stories as our clients turn over a new page and start a new chapter. If you would like to be part of the narrative of hope in Woodlawn, click the button to go to our website and see how you can be involved.
*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of our client