Posts Tagged Skills to Succeed

David R., a single father of two, came to the Dallas LIFE shelter in January 2011 after losing his job with Bank of America. David ran his first mile with Back on My Feet in February 2011. Today, he is self-sufficient with a job, a home, a car and renewed self-confidence.

After David began the Back on My Feet program in February 2011, he maintained 90% attendance, raced in local 5K and 15Ks, and attended all Back on My Feet courses provided. David enjoyed “Financial Literacy: Intro to Banking,” “Financial Literacy: Understanding your Credit” (both instructed by ACE Cash Express) and the “Skills to Succeed” resume building workshop from Accenture.

Using his resume, revamped from the “Skills to Succeed” workshop, David interviewed with the Marriott Suites Market Center in July 2011 and was offered a position in room service. After accepting the position, he began to save his money due to the instruction provided by ACE Cash Express.

In November 2011, David and his children, Whitney and David Jr., moved out of the Dallas LIFE shelter into a home of their own. Removed from the shelter and his teammates, David continued to run. Using running as a stress reliever, David could “leave it all on the pavement.”

In January 2012, David paid cash for a used car because he knew interest rates were not for him (thanks ACE Cash Express!) And he is now cross-trained at the Marriott in room service, banquets and restaurant service positions. He continues to be a rising star for the Marriott and will be recognized for his accomplishments at the Back on My Feet Dallas-Fort Worth Birthday Bash as Residential Member of the Year – Dallas LIFE on February 13,2012.

While David’s accomplishments over the past year are remarkable, it is his leadership and heart that will be recognized on February 13th. During the 2011 holidays, David took time to babysit, feed and care for a family during a teammate’s relapse.  Proving once again, that Back on My Feet not only teaches “the skills to succeed” but instills in those experiencing homelessness the motivation and confidence to become valued members of our community.

Sheretta B., 25, began the program at Dallas LIFE in February 2011 after leaving an unhealthy family situation. Sheretta entered the shelter and immediately found herself overwhelmed by the environment. She constantly worried for her two children, Taylor (five years old) and Tylor (two years old), and the effect the shelter would have on them. She didn’t know what the future held for her and her small family. She even contemplated returning to the unsafe atmosphere she had just escaped.

Sheretta and her children were shy, withheld and timid when interacting with others. They were a product of an intense and constantly changing dynamic at the shelter. They had each other, but they had no direction.

Sheretta joined Back on My Feet in May 2011. With two kids under five, making the morning runs was more difficult for Sheretta than the average participant. Showing up with less than a few hours of sleep, knowing she needed to prep and get the kids to daycare before 7:00 a.m., fueled on by little to no emotional support from family… this high school athlete proved she could do it, and some.

Sheretta has attended all financial literacy courses, the Skills to Succeed course, a computer literacy course, all exclusive job fairs, a mock interview workshop, studied for her GED and lost more than twenty pounds over the past six months. She was recognized as member of the month in September 2011 and she is currently interviewing for available positions while going to school at El Centro Community College part-time.

“If it wasn’t for Back on My Feet, I would have left a long time ago. I’m more prepared for a job and it’s overall helped my self-esteem really. I was not trying to do anything when I first came here, it helps me a lot. If it wasn’t for Back on My Feet, I probably would have never gone back to school.”

While Taylor and Tylor don’t yet understand the meaning of their time at Dallas LIFE, they do understand the joy that Back on My Feet brings their mom. Sheretta and her family smile now because of the Non-Residential members on the Dallas LIFE team. Sure, we run a lot, but here are two very happy examples of how Back on My Feet is so much more than running…

Sheretta and her family were recently featured in a D Magazine article. To join the Dallas LIFE team, click here.

Born and raised in southern Arkansas, Rhonda A. moved to DC to stay with a cousin to seek out better employment opportunities.  She taught in public and charter schools for almost a decade in Washington, DC as well as out in Prince George County.  After turning to substitute teaching,  Rhonda  found herself moving in to Luther Place Night Shelter, a part of the N Street Village community, in late 2009.  She lived in a basement apartment over in Southeast DC until it began to repeatedly flood when it rained.  With repairs nowhere on the horizon, she moved in with a friend for a while, but eventually it was time for her to move on and she made her way over to Luther Place Night Shelter.  She had known about N Street Village before that and had been going there for some of the daily activities.

Rhonda found a community at N Street Village that was a welcoming environment where all people were treated with respect and decency.  She admires John and Irna Steinbruck, the founders of N Street Village.  “They used to minister at Luther Place, and knowing them and their mission, their purpose, I get the feeling that this is something done in earnest, not for show or awards.”

Rhonda liked the movement and yoga classes held at the community, and when she heard that Back on My Feet was starting up a team she was a little hesitant at first but soon became a big believer in the support and community she found within the team.  With 8 months on the team and over 100 miles(!) Rhonda has run in 4 races and shows no signs of slowing down.  “I see that I’m able to do that now.  I’m able to move forward.  Remembering that first block when I didn’t think I could do it.  But I had people around who continually encouraged me, and it helps keep me going.”

One of the things she’s found in BoMF is the sense of pride and the feeling of having an extended family throughout the city.  The social events such as the BoMF Blue and Green Birthday Bash and the BoMF Night at the Nationals help reinforce the sense of family and accomplishment for her.  “When I looked out on the field [Nationals Stadium] the game doesn’t seem as intimidating as it used to.  I couldn’t say that if I wasn’t with Back on My Feet – for me that shows a new level of confidence and perspective,” said Rhonda.

She had nothing but high praise for the team over at Accenture that have helped with the Skills to Succeed Seminar, part of the Next Steps phase of the Back on My Feet program.  “Jorge and Mike are just wonderful, very uplifting and helpful and they carried you through the whole session – they extended themselves if we needed help further down the line – they really cared.”

Rhonda is setting her sights on continuing her education.  Whether returning to Trinity College to continue taking classes or applying to American University, she would like to work with kids again in education or special education.  Currently she’s interning with Reading Partners, here in Washington, DC. The motivation and confidence to take on these new challenges has been bolstered by running.  “I remember the last race when I was coming up the hill and all the people on the sidelines were cheering and supporting you, encouraging you to do what you didn’t think you could do.”  That belief in herself is something that is going to carry Rhonda for a long time.

“The way you work with people, the way you treat people and respect each other, that’s what I got from the whole experience with Back on My Feet.”

On May 6, BoMF Chicago partnered with Accenture to host the third Accenture Skills to Succeed event. The 2.5 hour program included a one hour classroom session covering resume writing, interview preparation, and general employment basics, followed by one-on-one mock interviews and resume reviews with Accenture employees. Seven Back on My Feet residential members attended the event and took away lots of great suggestions and feedback. The eagerness and engagement of the group attested to their immense motivation! Many thanks to Accenture for their coordination and continued support of Back on My Feet and Skills to Succeed!

Dave F. and Luke H. were selected as residential and non-residential members of the month for Emery house for the month of February!  Dave is training for the National Marathon coming up on March 24th, as well has having attended the Accenture Skills to Succeed seminar and working on resume prep and job searching with Program Director Gretchen Gates.  He’s been very consistent on his long training runs and we’re all hoping for a great race for Dave!  Luke H., among being a fantastic runner with BoMF and an ambassador for the National Marathon (he’s running the half), he also recently completed the Empire State Building Run Up . Check out the trailer for a race that Luke is training for where he and several other competitors will race against a horse, For 50 Miles.

Sam Stinson also attended the Accenture Skills to Succeed seminar, as well as getting a job with Marriott in their banquet department.  Great job Sam!!!

Marathon training is going great for Scotty Williams and Walter Barerra.  Everyone is getting prepared for the race and for the Bash coming up, and we can’t wait to spend time with our BoMF family at both events!  Emery house also participated in the Love The Run You’re With 5K race hosted by Pacers Running Stores.  Pictures from that event can be seen HERE.

As one of our biggest advocates nationally, the partnership between the Baltimore Accenture office and the Baltimore BoMF chapter continues to thrive!  Accenture employees in Baltimore have supported the local chapter not just by running with Team American Rescue Workers on a regular basis, but also through volunteering at big events like our annual bash, and most recently through the launch of the Skills to Succeed program.  Working from a model developed in Philadelphia and Washington DC, Greg Luehrs coordinated the Accenture team of 6 people who put together presentations, mock interviews and one on one resume critique sessions for each of the four Back on My Feet members who participated.  Greg S. (MCVET), Gary W. (MCVET), Mike M. (Christopher’s Place) and Dominique Bailey (Christopher’s Place) were among the first class to take advantage of the program and they certainly showed up to maximize every benefit offered to them.  Read more…

January was another big month for the women of N Street Village.  For starters, they welcomed three new members to the team – Helen, Carol and Deborah.  All the women have been a wonderful addition to the team and helped keep spirits high during a chilly January.

Mary Virginia A. was selected as the team’s residential member of the month, as well as the team captain!  Mary has been the most consistent runner at NSV, with 100% attendance and going strong for over 5 months!  She was also the first woman at NSV to run a race, the SOME Turkey Trot 5K.  She also participated in the Girls on the Run 5K in December, and is already gearing up for her spring training and race schedule!

We also had several women on the team attend the Accenture Skills to Succeed Seminar hosted by Accenture.  The program consisted of a professional development seminar, tips on presenting yourself well in job applications, on resumes and in a one-on-one interview.  The program was a resounding success, and Mary Virginia, Jackie and Robin all learned so many great skills that will be of help to them as they enter the workforce.

On January 17th, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, seven members of Back on My Feet Washington, DC attended our first Skills to Succeed Seminar hosted by Accenture.  The day was kicked off with a wonderful breakfast followed by a professional development seminar giving tips and pointers for how to stand out of from the crowd when applying for a job.  Several Accenture human resources professionals volunteered their time to pass on tricks of the trade with regard to resume writing, applying for jobs, and for giving a great one-on-one interview.

After the seminar and a well deserved break, the Accenture volunteers paired off with the Back on My Feet members to work on resume writing/improvement, and to sit down and do a mock job interview.  The ‘real life’ practice was one of the highlights of the seminar for the members. The interview coaching and advice will certainly serve our members well as they move back into the workforce.

The Skills to Succeed Seminar is a monthly addition to the Next Steps phase of the program that assists our members with job training, continuing education and professional development.