Meet Joyce* (her name has been changed). She is an unemployed mom of two school-age children. Joyce had been unemployed for four long years. During that time, Joyce tried out a few local employment-prep programs and courses, but she never saw or felt their value. They left her disheartened, uninspired, drained - and worst of all, still without employment.
Then, one evening on-line, she happened upon WEN’s website. It seemed different. She called, came in, had her assessment and enrolled. The turning-point.
Joyce learned that WEN’s program would deliver, but she also realized she couldn’t just sign up and go through the motions. Joyce found that, at WEN, she had to invest in herself and commit to working hard on her process, that WEN expected a great deal from its clients. Invest in yourself – there will be a return.
Joyce showed up at WEN every day for the five-week curriculum. She did some real soul-searching, developed a realistic action-plan for her job-search and goals, created a strong resume and cover letter template, polished up her interview skills, got a new suit from the WEN clothing bank, and was ready to hit the pavement and find employment.
She identified her “dream employer.” And, with the help and support from the dedicated staff – and from the other women in her WEN class – Joyce was ready to make things happen. And she did. Within 3 weeks after graduating, Joyce was hired by her dream employer. She did not get her “dream job;” but she seized the opportunity to get her foot in the door. The job she accepted offered her the flexibility she needed to manage her family’s schedules and needs, a paycheck that would support them, and the opportunity for her to grow within the company for which she most wanted to work.
Joyce came back to WEN a few weeks later to speak to the new WEN clients. She addressed the class and told them the importance of having realistic goals – that where you start is not where you will end up, to always believe in yourself. Joyce actually put her foot in the doorway of the classroom to demonstrate her point. The message resonated!
Joyce’s story does not end here. As it turned out, Joyce would not receive her first paycheck until 3 weeks after she started. Joyce needed, but could not afford, supportive shoes for her new position – a moderate expense for some, but untenable for Joyce. Thanks to a Special Assistance Fund at WEN, we were able to purchase these shoes for Joyce so that she could manage and succeed in her new position.
Joyce is still employed with her “dream employer.” And she’s well on her way to her “dream” job there as well. Most importantly, Joyce is taking care of herself and her family. This is not the “end of the story” for Joyce; it’s just the beginning of a new and happy chapter. All of this is possible because of Joyce, her hard work and her diligence. But none of this would be possible without WEN.
Big, systemic change can start by helping one woman secure employment and become financially and emotionally self-sufficient; WEN is the agent for this change. WEN’s core program endeavors to awaken, increase, and maximize our clients’ abilities to earn and maintain a living. WEN believes – and has proven – that, through our programming, helping women help themselves greatly improves the communities in which we all live, one woman at a time.
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Grant Writer/Development Coordinator