A Very Brave Step Forward
I first came to Our Daily Bread Employment Center (ODBEC) to attend a Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting, but had never come to eat. I was embarrassed and I didn’t have the courage to come to a soup kitchen. When I see the people who eat here, I admire them. It takes so much courage. It’s just something I could never do. One day, Ms. Michelle at the front desk told me about the job readiness class, Work4Success, that was available. It’s a five day program that provides you with job readiness training and job placement assistance. I began the class in early February. I was ready to learn and I learned a lot. I was taught how to dress and how to present myself for a job. Ms. Bennett in Employment Services, also was a great help. She set up several interviews for me. She has gone above and beyond! It’s hard right now because many jobs require a GED, which I don’t have yet, but I am being tutored at ODB to get one.
I started volunteering at ODB after finishing the Work4Success class. I used to come down just to see if ODB needed help. I even came down during the snow storm! I felt like I just wanted to give back. I have never had a job before and right now I live on Supplemental Security Income (SSI). I want a job where I will be helping people since they have done so much to help me in my life.
When I was volunteering in the dining hall Ms. Denise, the Kitchen Manager, stopped and asked for my name. She had noticed my positive attitude and asked if I would like to work with her in the kitchen. I now volunteer for Ms. Denise regularly. When I first started volunteering, I wasn’t able to look people in the eye. Ms. Denise told me, ‘Yvette, you have a voice too.’ She wanted me to believe in myself. I was taught that how you give, you will receive and it’s true, this has been such a blessing. I am dedicated to this position. I get up at 4:00 am and try to be at ODB at 6:00 am, not just to help the daytime cook, Cedric, but to watch and learn. One time I took over when Cedric wasn’t here. I was very nervous, but the whole shift went great. I was so proud of myself! For the first time I’m in a place where I feel needed every day.
I can see myself at a job where I have a desk in my own office. Or maybe I will be cooking to serve others. This is a process, not just an experience. I am still looking for a job, and I still attend daily NA meetings. I was six years clean on April 26th! I am definitely moving forward.
Despite daily challenges, Yvette is always ready with a bright greeting for staff and volunteers at ODBEC. Her story offers hope to many clients and guests. Through services offered at ODBEC, the supportive community of volunteers and staff, and her own determination, she has taken a brave step forward. Her journey is far from over, but we are happy to have met her here along the way.
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