November 4, 2020
Partner Program Spotlight: Bridging the Gap
The following account is from Bridging the Gap, a United Way partner. Your contributions to United Way of Kennebec Valley made this story possible.
After becoming unemployed, Stephanie, age 38 and a single parent of three children, came to Bridging the Gap (BTG) as a volunteer through its partnership with Fed Cap’s Breaking the Cycle Program (a program whose mission is to create opportunities for people with barriers to move toward economic well-being). Upon Stephanie’s arrival, she had a goal of building on her confidence and was motivated to work on skills that would move her toward becoming re-employed, which in turn would allow her to become financially stable. Stephanie says, “As a single mother I had to leave my last job because the schedule conflicted with my responsibilities as a parent. Doing so led me to feelings of hopelessness and failure as a mother and that’s when I had no other choice than to apply for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Part of TANF’s requirements was that I work with Fed Cap and that’s what led me to BTG.”
As a result of her volunteer work, Stephanie quickly became more confident and exhibited employment ready behaviors. While volunteering she heard about an open position in the Warming Center and she interviewed for it. Stephanie says, “my participation in BTG’s No One Left Behind program gave me the confidence I needed to go for it. Everyone at BTG has always been so kind and very helpful. Through volunteering I felt like I had an okay understanding of the programs and could be successful as an employee.” Due to Stephanie’s positive attitude, sense of humor, ability to show empathy, willingness to learn, her past work experience, and her flexibility she was hired on as a Floor Monitor in November and remain employed.
Stephanie says, “being employed again has had a positive impact on my self-esteem and has given me back my confidence. I feel like I am now the mom that my family can be proud of. Although I was grateful to be receiving help from TANF it wasn’t enough to meet my family’s needs. Every day that had to rely on TANF just felt like another day trying to stay afloat. After paying my rent every month I only had $16 left over to meet the rest of our basic needs. I was feeling hopeless with the amount of income I was receiving. Now that I am back to work, I no longer feel like a failure. I don’t have to borrow from my mom anymore to buy toilet paper. I look forward to my days now. I feel like I have a purpose.” Stephanie states that with her employment with BTG has opened her eyes. She feels like she now has a better understanding of people and the challenged we face as a community and it has allowed her to become more empathetic towards others.
Knowing that Stephanie is a seasonal employee, Bridging the Gap has supported her in creating an aftercare plan by connecting her to Goodwill Industries FSET program. FSET is working with Stephanie to secure job placement that will begin after her position wraps up in March.
Categories: News | Tags: | Posted by: Mboyer
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