Dear FAIR Fund Friends: I remember so clearly my first job at age 16 at the little vegetarian café in my hometown in Texas. I was so proud of being able to earn my own money and start making some of my own financial decisions. Only, I didn’t need the money to pay rent or school uniforms. My parents took care of all of my basic needs. I didn’t know there were girls around the world who didn’t have parents who could make sure they had shelter, schoolbooks, or even food on the table at night. Years later, I do.
“I can’t believe it, they are going to hire me!!!!” was the sound most of downtown D.C. could have heard if they were anywhere near the café where one of FAIR Fund’s JewelGirls got her first job!
A few days ago, I walked with one of FAIR Fund’s JewelGirls to a nearby coffee shop. Her mom lost their apartment and each child in the house is staying at different places until she can get back on her feet. Just like most of the girls we serve at FAIR Fund, she has experienced serious hardships including exploitation, abuse, and homelessness. She’s trying to stay focused on school and is worried that she needs to get a job. I can see the worry written all over her face and that my hugs were just not enough to erase them. So, we went up to the counter where the baristas were busily making coffee and she shyly asked, “Are you hiring here?” The barista replied, “Yes, but you have to fill out an application online.” Then, she smiled at us and said cookies were on the house. We ran out the door and back to the FAIR Fund office where we turned on the computer and got to work! There were so many questions! She wondered if they would even look at her application because it’s her first job. Yet, something started to change as she realized question by question that she has been building her job skills since the age of 14. You see, she’s a JewelGirl! This means she knows how to fill customer orders, be friendly and professional at the work place, manage money, stock inventory, create displays, and work well with coworkers. These are all the skills she learned for the past two years at FAIR Fund’s JewelGirls program. So, she may be only 16, but she has a real advantage over other girls her age! After she completed the application, she decided to take a copy to the store. I encouraged her to go in on her own, and she called me proudly about an hour later to say she’d dropped it off directly in the hands of the manager. I asked her, “Did you smile and look the manager in the eye?” She replied, “Miss Andrea, of course I did!” So today, she got a call from the manager and went in for an interview. She’s hired! She’s so excited that this might mean she can help her mom find a new place for them to live and get the family back together. I’m so proud of her, and I thought all of you reading this would be as well!
Thank you for all of your support. We could not empower the girls we serve without your support and faith. Warmly, Andrea
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