Community Advocate

Machinery, Dancing, and Sweet Sixteens

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

David's Story

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David’s Story

Over 8 months ago, David had his first appointment at Hope Works. He had been laid off and needed to find new work as soon as possible. He had been to a few interviews, but wasn’t getting called back.

David was qualified for the positions he applied for, but needed practice communicating his potential to employers. Our program manager, Shalom, worked with him to practice interviews and to polish his resume.  

Meanwhile, the team at Glen Lerner Gives Back, the charitable arm of Glen Lerner Injury Attorneys, hosted a clothing drive to collect professional clothes for our clients to wear to interviews. While our staff was helping David prepare, Glen Lerner Gives Back was making sure he would look prepared as well.

David also began attending services at Living Hope Church, with whom we share our building. This presented David the chance to be supported by a community that would care for him as he worked towards employment.

The day before David’s most recent interview, Shalom helped him pick out an outfit to wear from our professional closet.

“Does it look good?” He asked as he tried on a button down and slacks. “And I get to keep these? Just like that?” he looked at Shalom. “You look great and you sure do” she replied encouragingly.

One of the first things Shalom noticed about David was how committed and focused he was as he searched for a job. He had been dedicated to finding employment and was always genuine and kind with our staff throughout the process. It’s always exciting to know that a client is prepared for an interview and David could not have been more ready. 

David called this week to tell us that he landed the job and will start next week. Unemployment is a big hurdle, but when our partners like Glen Lerner Gives Back come alongside Hope Works, our clients are able to get to the next step. We are thrilled to see David take on this new role and can’t wait to see where his determination takes him next.

 

To learn more about Glen Lerner Injury Attorneys, visit here.

Charmanda's Story

Charmanda wanted to work as a real estate agent since she was 19 years old. When she came to Hope Works, she had done exactly that for nearly a decade. She enjoyed it because the hours were flexible, and that their was never a dull moment on the job. Whether she was getting to show new properties, or getting to meet exciting clientele, no two days were the same.

Unfortunately, Charmanda was not getting many calls at her real estate brokerage. Since she was paid by commission, she was not making enough to support herself and her children. She quickly started seeking new opportunities, but was having trouble getting interviews. She began to worry that her resume was not as good as it could be. When her neighbor across the street recommended Hope Works for our resume services, she decided to set up an appointment with one of our case managers.

Though she wanted to find another job in real estate, Charmanda decided to expand her options and worked with one of our community advocates, Kimi, to make two resumes: one for real estate, and one for everything else. Before too long, Charmanda began to notice that people were viewing the applications she submitted. After being contacted for more and more interviews, Charmanda was offered a job with a real estate brokerage.

The new position gives Charmanda not only a job, but a career - the career she has wanted since she was 19! She is able to support herself, and is excited to become an even better realtor. Because of the flexible hours, she is able to drive her kids to and from school! Charmanda was also offered a seasonal position working in a warehouse, which she plans to accept for a consistent source of supplementary income.

Like most Hope Works clients, Charmanda already brought a great deal of experience to the table. All it took for Charmanda to get her dream job was to help her advertise the experience she already had.