Thursday, June 20, 2013

Throwback Post: Lifetime Skills

*Throwback Post #4*
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Last week signified my first official week at The Lord's Place (TLP)- and I couldn't be happier!

For the next year, I will be serving as a Job Ready Skills teacher and Employment Tutor for those that come into TLP and need help finding jobs, editing resumes, creating cover letters, etc. I've already experienced some of the teaching side of things and have helped a few people with the job application process. One of them even got an interview the next day!

To give everyone a little bit of background, TLP is an organization that aims at helping end the cycle of homelessness. They provide various services to those that find themselves without a steady place to call home. People needing these services come to TLP, where they are assessed and a plan of action is determined for how to best help them. Those that are deemed as needing help are referred to The Lewis Center, where they are placed in one of many different housing options, depending on their individual situation.

Once families or individuals have been placed, then they are eligible for the multitude of services and opportunities that TLP offers them. One of these is a Job Ready Skills class. In order to be accepted into this program, a client must be referred to the program, complete an entry exam/application, and be approved to join a class. Each class is 2 weeks long, 3 hours a day. During the course of the 30-hour class, students are taught basic computer skills, how to create an email account, how to create a resume, cover letter, and reference list, and interview skills. By the end of the class, students should be able to go out, apply for a job, go through an interview, and land a new job. This class has proven to be very successful and I can't wait to have a full class that I can see through from start to finish.

Last week, I joined in on a class already in session and was able to observe/interact with the students for the last half of the class. I can honestly say that I now have 7 new people that I'm pulling for as they look for jobs and try to turn their lives around. These classes are super diverse. In this past class, there were:

- someone who had been in federal prison for 12 years

- 2 others that had been convicted of a crime of some sort

- 3 people who had been laid off and lost their homes as a result

- 5 people who were living at halfway houses for various reasons

If you had lined these 7 individuals up before I started working with them and asked me to pick out who was struggling to find a job or didn't have a permanent roof over their head, I would not have picked any of these people. They were all so upbeat, friendly, and such a joy to be around. It has made going to work amazing and I look forward to getting to TLP everyday!

One of the individuals, who I'll call Barbara, especially tugged at my heart strings. Barbara is an older African-American woman who has never used a computer in her life. When she first started the class, she barely knew where the power button was, let alone how to create a document of any kind. One of my first duties when I started with this class was to help her one-on-one with her typing and overall computer skills. We're talking absolutely basic (i.e. "Which key do you press to create a new line to type on?", etc.). But through her perseverance and determination to get acquainted with the computer, she successfully completed a resume and reference list! She was so excited and proud of herself that she was on the verge of tears! I received a ginormous hug and kiss on the cheek for helping her out, but she was the one who did it. I was just her guide!

Today was their graduation ceremony. They are now equipped to go out and look for a job. I can't wait to see them progress, find employment, and continue to turn their lives around. I also know that this is only the beginning of these stories and I can't wait to continue adding onto my collection as the year goes on!