Lack of affordable housing is a challenge for women experiencing homelessness. But, finding and keeping employment that provides sufficient income is foundational for them to get back on their feet.
A dozen women are ready to embark on that journey, after graduating from The Salvation Army Center of Hope’s job readiness program. The program has been in place for years. However, thanks to funding from Jeff Bezos’s Day 1 Families Fund, enhancements and new offerings are on the way.
“Every class is a new group of ‘special’,” said Donna Singletary, who heads up the program for The Salvation Army Center of Hope. “Sharing our stories and helping each other along the way is what it’s all about. It’s in community that we thrive.”
This community of women has been on a journey for several weeks, learning about what it takes to find and keep employment, while also gaining connections in the real world to real jobs. Graduating from this program is not just a paper certificate. It’s a “passport” to a better future. And, that’s a concept that was reinforced by Lori Randolph, who provided an inspirational talk at the graduation event.
For her 40th birthday, Randolph decided she didn’t want any gifts. She instead wanted to treat 40 ladies to a pampering day. The year prior, she was depressed while fighting cancer and raising her family. The stress was wearing on her. But through counseling and relying on her faith, she was determined to overcome. She knew she needed to do something to feed her spirit by helping others.
“I wanted to do something to help women. I wanted to bless someone, and instead of just one, how about 40?” she said. “Life is about doing something to better the community and trying to help forward people on the path to success.”
At the graduation event, Randolph shared her personal motto: “Dream it. Speak it. Tackle it.” She encouraged these newly empowered women to have dreams, yes, but then to make a move to achieve them.
These women are ready to do just that, and they were encouraged that they are not in it alone. Not only do they have the support of The Salvation Army, but they have God’s support. Even when things seem hopeless, God is always there.
“We believe in you. We believe you can do it,” said Major Larry Broome said to the graduates. “We are inspired by you today.”