A young woman, *Kate* (name changed), in her late twenties, came to WEN. She was determined to change her life, make improvements, and take steps that would lead her to success and opportunity. She had held jobs and done just fine, but the bulk of her work experiences had been at Wendy's and McDonalds. She thought this -- and that she herself -- was not good enough, "less than." This was faulty thinking, it was self-defeating, and it was wrong. The women at WEN helped her understand, appreciate and realize that she had experience with customer-service, money-handling, and most of all, she had proven herself to be a reliable, trustworthy, and honest employee. She was someone who could be counted on. To this young woman, this truth that seemed clear to others was news to her. And it felt good when she learned it - and even better when she believed it and owned it.
Part of WEN's 5-week Employment Preparation and Career Transition Training involves attending workshops on various personal and professional development topics. One such workshop offered is "Finding Your Inner-Super Woman." Kate attended. And, no joke, the next day, she came into class and the WEN receptionist truly did not recognize her. Kate sat down in the WEN classroom, and the Program Director had to do a double-take because she too "saw" someone totally different. It wasn't just that Kate had changed her haircut (yes, dramatically, she had gone from a long-haired brunette to a red-head with a shoulder-length style). But it was that she was shining from within. Kate told the class - and our Program Director - that she had been listening, taking in, and contemplating all that she had learned over the past 4 weeks, and that it all just "crystallized" during the SuperWoman workshop. She was going to let that SuperWoman, who had been hiding in herself for so long, fly free. She was going to make way for changes, for good things, for a future to open up and happen.
The Graduation ceremony just concluded. Kate was there, proud of herself, happy - Super Woman on display. And she is poised and ready to take her new attitude, new sense of self, new resume and interviewing skills into her job-search-process and find herself that next employment opportunity that she deserves, can ably handle, and will love.
Another WEN success story. Way to go, Kate.
Paying it forward.....
WEN graduate Wanda Coleman epitomizes the phrase, “paying it forward.” Wanda came to WEN in hopes that she would find employment, avoid going on public assistance, and be able to turn her life around. She made a promise to herself that when -- not if -- but when she did find sustainable employment, she would give back.
Wanda graduated from WEN in 1995 and was soon hired by DST Systems, Inc., a prominent Kansas City-based company. Fast forward to January 2012. Wanda has proven herself to be an invaluable employee, excellent at what she does, and with a first-rate work ethic. Wanda has just received her biggest promotion - she is now a Supervisor and will be responsible for overseeing the entire Operations Department at DST. No small feat!
In Wanda’s own words, “I owe all of my success to what I learned at Women’s Employment Network.” And to recognize and thank WEN, Wanda joined WEN’s Legacy Circle, a VIP Donor Circle, making her the very first WEN client and graduate to make this significant contribution.
She is an inspiration.
From all of us at WEN, we appreciate your thank-you -- and we want to thank-you right back!
We are proud to report, on average, 13 women each month, thanks to Women's Employment Network's Employment Preparation & Career Transition Training program, find jobs and report employment! We are very proud of all of our women/graduates!
On a personal note, just the other day, our staff of 6 was holding our weekly meeting, when we heard a knock on the door. We opened the door and saw a WEN client with a huge smile, ear to ear, standing there, looking like she was about to burst with pride. She had just heard the news that she had been hired for a job that she had been hoping for. She said the first thing she wanted to do when she heard the news was to come directly to WEN's offices to let us all know the big news. We all stood up and gave her big hugs and congratulations. She said she never could have done this without our program, our support and our friendship.
After she left, we continued our meeting, but there was a certain something different in the air. We were reminded in the most wonderful of ways that what we do, day-in and day-out, helps real women in very direct ways make real differences in their lives.
(attached is a photo of a few recent WEN graduates)
Santesa came to WEN unemployed, frustrated, down-on-her-luck, but determined to find sustainable employment so that she could take care of herself and her family.
Santesa is young, just 22 years old. And she has three children (ages 6, 3, 1) and was pregnant with her fourth. Though she had a solid work history with good references and experience, she was finding it next-to-impossible to get hired, possibly because she was pregnant.
During the WEN training, Santesa got her confidence back, shifted her mind-set, and set in motion a plan to get herself working and back on track. It was during the mock-interview portion of the WEN training and curriculum that things really began to change. The WEN volunteer-interviewer, a successful local businesswoman, saw Santesa not as a pregnant, young mom without a job, but as a woman who had great potential, a great attitude, fortitude, and strength of character. This volunteer was so impressed by Santesa that she made calls and networked on her behalf. Santesa, through this volunteer’s help, landed an interview with a company she wanted to work for. And, Santesa aced the interview and found herself a job: employed, thanks to WEN and thanks to her own strengths and effort.
Santesa, through WEN’s program, found sustainable employment: she is now employed by a national restaurant chain as a hostess. She receives steady paychecks and benefits and is on the path to a bright future. Another WEN success story; we are very proud of Santesa!
Sue Huber came to WEN expecting one thing.. and she graduated from our 5-week program with much, much more. In her own words, she describes her journey:
"Words can't really do justice the gratitude I feel for this program. I was not expecting a life-changing experience, yet I feel like my life has changed. I was only expecting to get a job and maybe some help with starting my business, a resume and some job leads. I feel like I have a tool belt full of tools to assist me in all aspects of my life, not just finding a job or starting a business. I am truly humbled and blessed by what I've received here! I know the sense of joy that I receive from giving, so I can imagine how fulfilled the volunteers the volunteers are who give of their time and resources to keep WEN going. Coming to WEN was the best $25 I have ever spent! I am so proud of myself -- and my classmates. In my opinion, we were each willing to leap outside our comfort zones and SOAR! Thank you for pushing myself - I am forever grateful."
Sue is now embarking on her journey and her new path, with direction and a "tool belt full of tools." She is also filled with a new sense of purpose, direction -- and with a strong and vital network of support from her classmates and contacts from WEN. We are very proud of Sue and cannot wait to see what the future holds for her. Congratulatins and good luck, Sue!
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