“I can’t tell you how appreciative I am”
In just a few months time, Stephen Holland, 36, went from watching the news about the declining job market and the unemployment rate to experiencing the crisis firsthand. Holland found himself unable to make ends meet and came to CFR seeking financial assistance with his rent. Despite holding both a Bachelor’s of Science degree and a Master’s of Public Administration, Holland has struggled to find stable employment, having been laid off from two jobs in the last 18 months.
After working with CFR case managers, Holland received assistance with June rent and food from the CFR pantry. He was also granted access to the CFR Job Lab where he was able to further refine and update his resume, job search on the internet and work with volunteers on interviewing skills.
“The assistance from CFR has been such a blessing,” Holland said,” I can’t tell you how appreciative I am.”
Through the struggle, Holland continued a diligent job hunt, having given the interview for this feature in route to a job interview. “All things considered, I am doing well, Holland said. I attribute it all to my faith – its coming from Him. He lead me to CFR – I believe that. It’s meant alot – what CFR is doing is great.”
Holland, an inspiring optimist continues to plan for his future and will begin a Master of Public Policy at Georgia State in 2010. Just before this newsletter went to print, Holland alerted CFR case managers he has been offered two part-time employment opportunities and should be able to pursue his education as planned. CFR case managers will continue to follow-up with Holland at three and six month intervals to offer support as he gets back on his feet and looks to the future.
Lights, Camera, Interview…Bob Mohalley’s Story
When medical injuries forced him into early retirement from park maintenance with the City of Atlanta, Gene Justice, 62, still had a passion for work and wanted to find a place to contribute his time and talent. After being referred to CFR by a family doctor, Justice and his wife visited the Mansour Center to find out more about getting involved as a volunteer.
In January 2009, Justice began volunteering with the Mansour Center two to four days each week providing assistance with special events, including beverage service, washing dishes, and cleaning tablecloths.
Justice, shy and soft-spoken, makes a significant contribution each month and has given 225 hours of service in his first six months as a Mansour Center volunteer.
“I enjoy whatever I do,” Justice said, “I do whatever needs to be done; being able to volunteer is a reward.”
Thank you to Gene for his support of the Mansour Center, its staff and the mission of CFR! Interested in volunteering at CFR? Contact us to find out more!
"I can show my kids that I went back and finished… I did it!"
Although able to get work, the jobs Rosio Martinez needed and wanted were out of reach because of a lack of a high school diploma. A mother of three, Rosio sought to better herself and began taking GED preparatory classes at CFR in 2006. "I wanted to feel good about myself and further my education," Rosio said.
Struggling with difficulties in math, she studied for two years, receiving one-on-one support from CFR staff and volunteers, and finally attained her GED. "They provided me the support to finish what I started,” Rosio said. I am proud to be finished."
Today, Rosio is an example to her young children as she works and pursues a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice for a future as a police officer. "I can show my kids that I went back and finished," Rosio said, "I did it."
With a history of special needs that required support from her family, Kim and her children became homeless after a caretaker unexpectedly passed way. They entered the Short Term Housing Program and later successfully completed the Transitional Housing Program.
CFR case managers connected the family to TANF, Food Stamps, Medicaid, SSI, childcare centers and public transportation. She was also provided life management skills including parenting techniques, money management skills, and job readiness skills.
While in the program, Kim received training that lead to full time employment and her children continued to improve in school. Having accumulated a savings account, Kim was able to move into a private lease. Her earned income had disqualified her from welfare, food stamps, and Medicaid. She stepped out of CFR programs armed with the resources to remain independent and self-sufficient.
Amanda & Lisa’s Story
Amanda, 17 was matched with her mentor Lisa in spring 2007. When Amanda’s mom approached CFR, she shared her struggle to motivate her daughter, Amanda, as she was disinterested in school and future plans for college and career. She was also very shy and soft-spoken.
Amanda and Lisa slowly began to build a friendship that would eventually reveal common interests in arts and culture, including music, museums, and dance concerts. Today, after two years of mentorship, Amanda continues to improve in school and has plans to start junior college upon high school graduation in 2010. With support and encouragement from Lisa, the relationship between mom and daughter has also improved.
“I can see her growth,” Mom Miranda said. “She knows she has a team of people caring and watching out for her.”
“They provided me everything I needed to get back on my feet!”
In the Fall 2007, Bernice Averill went from a being a stay-at-home mom of three to an unemployed, single mom struggling against seemingly impossible odds. Newly employed but with little support as she attempted to get back on her feet, Averill struggled to find long-term, secure housing for her family.
“I was so stressed and worried… Averill said. There were no options for staying with family. I didn’t know what was going to happen from day to day.”
Averill and her girls entered CFR’s Short Term Housing Program and began working together with a CFR case manager to ensure she could maintain an independent and self-sufficient life for her family. “They provided me everything I needed to get back on my feet, Averill said. They taught me how to budget and save my money and even how to keep my place clean and safe for my daughters.”
After 90 days, Averill moved her family to permanent housing and began a journey of success that today includes two promotions with her job. Currently a Level III manager with Domino’s, Averill owns her home and looks to be promoted to general manager of her store over the next few months. She hopes to buy a bigger home in the future.
“God blessed me, Averill said. Today I am spending more time with my kids and watching them grow up.”
The Harrison Family
Having lost her job as a real estate contractor, Mrs. Harrison contacted The Center for Family Resources because her family simply could not make ends meet anymore. Mrs. Harrison’s husband worked for Cobb County for over twenty years but his income alone was not enough to support the family.
Experiencing extreme stress and anxiety to the point of desperation, she admitted to the CFR case manager she had even been contemplating suicide as she saw no other way out of their situation. After looking at the family expenses, Mrs. Harrison and the CFR case manager were able to identify ways to cut costs and stretch the family’s earnings a little bit further each month. The CFR case manager also recommended counseling through the Community Services Board to help with the depression and anxiety she was experiencing. Through the Friendship Fund program, CFR was able to assist the Harrisons with their mortgage for the month. Because the Harrisons were also in need of food but were over income for food stamps, CFR provided the family with a $250 gift card to Publix.
When the case manager presented the gift card to Mrs. Harrison, she said “I have goose bumps…I never imagined you all would be able to help me so much.” She continued saying that after she left CFR the day before she was able to sleep some that night and even talked with her husband about the suicidal feelings she had been experiencing. He said “don’t you dare leave me…I couldn’t live without you.” She left CFR in tears that day. As she walked out the door, Mrs. Harrison said “People are going to wonder what you all did to me because of all these tears but these are tears of happiness. I can’t tell you how thankful I am.”
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