PAMELA T. dropped out of high school, drifted from job to job, but had no direction until she entered an alternative high school for at risk students. As a result of her participation in the Adkins Life Skills Program: Career Development Series, Pamela was determined to make something of herself. While in the Program, she was confronted with great family and personal difficulties. Not only did she overcome them, she did so well in her studies that she won the award for Academics. In nine months she got her GED, scoring significantly above the national norm and was, according to her counselor "easy to place."
Pamela started out as a clerk in the Personnel Department of a major corporation in New York City specializing in commercial office cleaning services. She has received promotions and is now Records Supervisor in Personnel.
FRANCIS K. was a computer programmer who was laid off from his job, could not obtain another one and was a welfare recipient when he entered a New York City program which helps welfare recipients bridge the gap from welfare to work. He is also an accomplished photographer, having 3 exhibits to his credit. While in the Adkins Life Skills Program, Francis expressed an interest in cinematography and film making. His dream was to become a cinematographer, learn the trade and then become a maker of positive black image films. He realized that this would be difficult and would require starting at the bottom of the profession.
Francis became an intern at a NYC TV station, working on a teen magazine program for public access television. Francis has proven himself to be of major value on this project and one of his programming ideas will be implemented in the first segment of the show. He sees this internship as an opportunity to learn and make valuable contacts. Moreover, Francis has been accepted by the Borough of Manhattan Community College. He applied as a computer science major, but wants to study writing to gain skill to be an editor and script writer.
DEBORAH M. was a mother of three children whose husband became disabled, unable to work. Forced to be the supporter of the family, Deborah went from one job to another, dissatisfied with the kind of work she was doing and the low salaries she had been getting. While participating in the Adkins Life Skills Program offered by an employment and training program, Deborah shared her dream that she always wanted to be a nurse, but could not afford to go to nursing school. She resolved to devote a year out of her life to obtain the education she needed to realize her goal. She was able to enter the Licensed Practical Nurse ( LPN) Training Program and she is now employed as an LPN.
CHARLES I. held a variety of jobs, some of which were successful and some were not. He simply did not know what to do. He heard about a Cosmetology Program offered by an Educational Opportunities Center and saw a lot of opportunity in that field. He enrolled and received his certificate in Cosmetology and Life Skills. The Adkins Life Skills Program helped Charles "to believe in myself and present that belief to others; to develop self-confidence and a positive attitude about life." The administrator of the Life Skills Program added: "It also assisted Charles in brushing up on his weak employability skills."
Charles found a full-time job working for a beauty salon. He then began to believe that he could venture into business himself. That belief worked and, at the age of 27 Charles became the owner/operator of his own hair styling salon, employing seven people, some of whom are also graduates of the EOC Cosmetology Program.
JANE S.'s husband left her and she found herself without money, with two children, no work background, no hope and very little self-esteem. She found out about the Displaced Homemakers Program offered at a Community College and was accepted into it. Her participation in the Adkins Life Skills Program provided her with the support she needed to find a stop gap job, working in a supermarket while she enrolled in and completed a word processing program.
Jane then got a job at a Naval Weapons Station. She saw that job as the first step in a career of her choice. After a couple of months on the job, she earned a merit award. She had an opportunity to fill in for the office supervisor who had left, put in her own bid for the position and was promoted to supervisor.
DAVID D. was on public assistance when he entered the Adkins Life Skills Program at a welfare program in New York City. According to his Life Skills Educator, David felt hopeless and lost. After a few short weeks in the program (about 4) David began to discover that he had many skills, many valuable attributes and a great deal to offer. He became determined to find the best vocational direction for himself. He discovered that one of his many attributes was his sensitivity to others. He was able to match that quality with his growing desire to reach out to others in a helping capacity. After completing the program, David enrolled in the Borough of Manhattan Community College, with a concentration in Community Health. He received a 4.0 GPA his first semester. He wanted "hands on experience," so he applied for entrance into a case aid program which he completed and became certified. He is now working part time as a case aid with a program that helps retarded children in the Bronx. At the same time, he is attending BMCC to complete the remainder of the Community Mental Health program. He is no longer on welfare.
DONALD L. began using drugs (Cocaine and Crack) at the age of 14 and soon became heavily addicted. As a result of his addiction, he found himself without a family and home, causing him to live "life on the streets"--sleeping on the subway and selling drugs to support his addiction.
Donald was arrested and convicted of robbery and sentenced to serve 2 to 4 years in a State Correctional Facility. While in prison, Donald was given the opportunity to participate in a new program within the State Department of Corrections called "Shock Incarceration." Because of this new way of life, Donald was able to gain insight into his addiction and a positive outlook for recovery. Donald completed the six months of training and earned a second chance at life on the outside.
He was determined to turn his life around. He took residency at the Parole Resource Center, a shelter for ex-offenders. Even with his new found desire and motivation, he still had feelings of fear, anxiety and self doubt about returning to society and confronting the stigma of being an addict and ex-offender.
During the time Donald spent in a vocational preparation program in the Adkins Life Skills Program, he was able to learn a lot about himself, giving him the self-esteem and confidence he lacked. He was ready to seek employment and become a productive member of society. Donald found a job as a short order cook with a major catering company, working in the cafeteria of a large investment bank, with headquarters in mid-Manhattan. He is still employed two and a half years later and has been promoted to the position of Assistant to the Chef.
Because of his self-commitment, Donald has remained close to the Life Skills Program where he often comes to share his life with newly released inmates. Further, he has also helped initiate a new chapter of a 12 Step program where he serves as co-chairman. He now spends one night a week helping others to remake their lives to become productive and responsible.
DEBORAH R. and HELEN D. Deborah R. is a divorced, single parent, living in a housing project in a Southern city. She attended a12-week Adkins Life Skills Program at the housing complex offered and facilitated by a community-based organization. After completing the 10 unit program Deborah gained self esteem and was motivated to enroll in a GED Prep program, which she successfully completed and received her GED. Along with Helen D., an Adkins Life Skills Program classmate, Deborah set out to assist in changing her community. She became the Vice President of the area resident council and Helen became its President. With their new sense of empowerment and accomplishments they received assistance to apply for a HUD Grant which would include a plan for tenant ownership in the Housing Development, as well as the creation of an Adkins Life Skills Program Center on the premises. The HUD Grant for $350,000 was granted and Deborah and Cynthia are actively working to develop the plan.
Deborah was trained as a Life Skills Educator and is co-facilitating the Adkins Life Skills Program for other tenants at the housing project.
JOHN B. is one of the few persons in the country who is happy to be paying his taxes. Until he entered a program for the homeless, John's entire adult lifetime centered around drugs, alcohol and prison. He literally had not worked a day in his life at a regular job. He entered the program at the age of 47. He discovered it was not just another program. By participating in the Adkins Life Skills Program, and utilizing the life skills that he learned, he managed to turn his life around one hundred and eighty degrees.
As part of his job search, John was referred to a faculty residence hall at a major university where there was a position open as a porter. Much to his surprise he was hired and now, seven years later, he is still working in that residence hall. He has been promoted to the position of switchboard operator. The faculty and staff of the residence hall hold John in high regard for his dependability, punctuality and efficiency, as well as his cheerful and caring demeanor while carrying out his responsibilities. He has not used drugs or alcohol in all the time he has been working.
RONALD H. was a 44 year old homeless veteran who had been residing in a men's shelter for 2 1/2 years before getting into a job readiness Program. He had been addicted to drugs and alcohol and had lost his job as a home attendant, his apartment and his wife. He joined a drug rehabilitation program and has been sober for the past three years. The Adkins Life Skills Program helped Ron to recognize that he had a very marketable job skill: he is very talented with computers. This talent was developed in an internship at a health care facility, where Ron worked as a computer operator. Following graduation, Ron was hired as an Administrative Assistant at a program for children with special needs. Last May, the health care facility contacted him and asked him to return. Ron was faced with a real career choice: whether to stay where he was or to return as a paid employee to his internship site. After weighing the pros and cons of each position, Ron decided to return to the health care facility, where he is employed as an Administrative Secretary, managing the program's donor database. He has recently gotten back his driver's license, has purchased a car, rents an apartment in Queens and is an employed, tax-paying citizen.
GRACE L. was widowed at age 28 and had four children to raise. She began a High School Equivalency Program because she wanted a better life for herself and her children. After going through the Adkins Life Skills Program, which was an integral part of the adult basic education program she was enrolled in, she obtained an entry level position at an artists materials store in midtown Manhattan. She is still there and, more importantly, she has risen to become a department head in charge of the graphics arts department. Although the class was over 15 years ago, she still credits the Life Skills Program with giving her the self-confidence that has helped her in her job as well as in her life.
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