Seeing Change

Mark and Jeanne first came to CityLink with goals of going through the SmartMoney program and purchasing a car through ChangingGears. As they progressed through SmartMoney, however, they quickly became interested in Supporting Services as well. They were both in desperate need of glasses, and were thrilled to learn they could get them at CityLink through the Cincinnati Health Department.

At the on-site Health and Wellness Center, Mark and Jeanne were able to get their eyes checked, get a prescription filled,  pick up their brand new glasses, and even see a dentist! They said that all of their appointment experiences have been wonderful, and that the staff has been very friendly.

“They treat you really well,” says Jeanne. “You come in here and you’re welcomed so warmly. We’ve never had a bad experience.”

As an added bonus, clients are able to make dental or optical appointments for their immediate families, so Mark and Jeanne have been able to bring their sons in for teeth cleanings and eye check-ups as well.

Jeanne adds that it’s a blessing for CityLink to be around, as it’s unlike any other agency around. She says it’s often hard for people to get all the help they need, but CityLink’s integrated services have made it easy for her and Mark to get the help they need. Having a health center on site has made even engaging in services easier. They are now able to focus on their classes and financial counseling sessions without worrying about how to fit appointments into their busy schedules.

“If people want to help themselves, CityLink gives them the opportunity to succeed,” says Mark.

Both Mark and Jeanne are eager to continue meeting with their financial counselor at SmartMoney and keep moving towards their ChangingGears goal.

Q&A With Tom Porter

Tom Porter is a long-time volunteer on the Automotive Team, where he puts his car detailing skills to great use. He loves the opportunity to use his God-given talent to change and enrich the lives of our clients, and the awesome friendships he has made along the way.

We asked Tom a few questions about his experience on this team. Check out his answers below!

Why do you serve on the automotive team?

Detailing cars has always been something enjoyable to me and it is something I thought I could do well to honor others. It is also a good use of my time that I have since I retired.

What keeps you coming back and continuing to serve?

I enjoy the friendships I have made while working at ChangingGears, and the times I’ve been there when a client picks up their car has been gratifying.

What is your favorite part about being on the automotive team?

I have to say just being around people. I’ve learned new “tricks” about cleaning cars. And, more than that, I have learned something about the personal lives of those I come in contact with. Most nights I come home feeling grateful for what God has provided for me and humble knowing what others have done with their lives.

What would you say to someone who is considering joining the team?

It is a great way to meet other people and expand your life experience. But it is also a tremendous way to honor others by donating your time. And on top of those, it is an avenue of learning things about cars that maybe you didn’t know before.

Any favorite moments at CityLink?

As far as specifics go, I can’t think of any. However, to be around a client who is picking up a car or who is telling me how much better their life is after being enrolled in CityLink is something that has warmed my heart and has been a motivation to continue my service.

 

Do you love working with cars, or do you just want to spend some time with a fun team? We need you on the automotive team! Contact Becky at becky.heisler@citylinkcenter.org to learn how you can get involved!

Q&A With Jun Xiong

In just a few short months, Jun has excelled in putting her skills to use on both the Clothing Connections and Workforce Development teams. Despite her busy school schedule, she is here regularly helping clients find professional clothes, conducting mock interviews, and building resumes with clients.

We asked Jun a few questions about her experience on these teams. Check out her answers below!

 

 1) Why do you serve on the Clothing Connection and Workforce Development teams?

I am a clothing person. I want to contribute my clothes matching skills to add value to clients’ happiness and professionalism.

I am also an HR person and desire to help people find a good fit.

 2) What keeps you coming back and continuing to serve?

I hope to reach more people.

3) What is your favorite part about Clothing Connection? What is your favorite part about Workforce Development?

I enjoy the time when I lift clients up through my clothing connection. I hear words like “You made my day!” “I really appreciate your help.” and I could see my value from those words.

About Workforce Development, I like the mock interview most because for me it is a mutual learning process.

4) What would you say to someone who is considering joining one of these teams?

You help people, you can see your value, you can have diverse experience, you can learn, and you may also be helped some day.

By serving on these teams, Jun helps our clients secure employment and change the trajectory of their lives. Thanks for all of your service, Jun!

Interested in preparing clients for future careers? Want to help them find the perfect outfit or hone their interview skills? We need you on the Clothing Connection and Workforce Development teams! Contact Becky at becky.heisler@citylinkcenter.org to get signed up for a Skill Set Training!

 

Q&A with Mason Alexander

Mason has been faithfully serving on the Workshop Facilitator team for about a year. He is here on Wednesday nights to teach SmartMoney classes, where he has the incredible opportunity to interact with clients and watch them grow! It is very rewarding for him to see a client learn how to manage his or her money, and he loves to be able to serve his community this way.
We asked Mason a few questions about his experience as a Workshop Facilitator. Check out his answers below!

Why do you serve on the Workshop Facilitator team?
Giving my time is important. I want to use the skills that God gave me to help others.

What keeps you coming back and continuing to serve?
Serving as a Workshop Facilitator is very fulfilling. There is an enormous need in our communities for financial education. Managing money can be stressful while balancing family and work life. My goal as a facilitator is to help equip CityLink clients with knowledge and new ways to think about money and their future.

What is your favorite part about being a Workshop Facilitator?
Definitely the clients. I’m energized when they are inquisitive and ask questions about how to manage their money. Experiencing another person’s learning and growth is very rewarding.

What would you say to someone who is considering joining this team?
Facilitating adult education is a privilege, especially when it comes to managing one’s money. This may be the client’s first real experience learning about how money works, and it’s great to be a part of that.

Any favorite moments at CityLink?
During one Understanding Credit class last spring, one of the clients shared with the class how to handle harassing creditors. She works for a collection agency, and the class really bonded over how to deal with these situations.

As a Workshop Facilitator, Mason helps clients learn new skills that result in amazing life change. Thanks for all that you do, Mason!
Interested in teaching SmartMoney classes? We need you on the Workshop Facilitator team! Email Becky at becky.heisler@citylinkcenter.org to get involved!

Holiday Hours

The holidays are just around the corner! We want to give everyone at CityLink a chance to relax and spend time with family and friends. Check out our special holiday hours below!

November 22: Closing at 5pm

November 23-24: Closed for Thanksgiving

December 25 – January 1: Closed for Christmas

Regular programming will resume on Tuesday, January 2nd. Enjoy the holidays!

 

Never Give Up

Kurtis was lead to CityLink after finding a post for Per Scholas on Indeed.com. He had been working as a corrections officer, and was looking to expand his career. He decided that Per Scholas was the perfect place to start, especially since he had been “messing with” computers since age six.

Kurtis describes the Per Scholas program as “a blessing in disguise.”

“It’s very difficult when you first start,” he says. “But as you progress, [the instructors] make things relaxing and welcoming.”

He adds that Per Scholas is a great program for those who have always wanted a career in IT, but don’t have the funds to go to college.

Kurtis’ progress through Per Scholas was awesome. On his very first test, he scored a 44%. Determined to raise that score, he worked incredibly hard: coming in early, staying late, and receiving tutoring to bring it all the way up to a 97%! After his experience, his biggest piece of advice to those who are interested in Per Scholas is to never give up.

“Don’t think that because you weren’t good at something in school that this isn’t the right thing for you,” he says. “You can do it!”

Kurtis graduated from Per Scholas in October, and was offered a Tier III position with Spectrum less than a week later. Ultimately, he hopes to go into the field of Cyber Security. He plans to stay involved with CityLink to earn his Network+ certification in the summer. In his spare time, he is also working on a  YouTube channel which will teach people different ways to fix computers.

We are so proud of Kurtis and all of his accomplishments!

Interested in serving with Per Scholas? Contact Becky at becky.heisler@citylinkcenter.org to find out how you can get involved!

Inspired by Faith

Tyrone first heard about CityLink Center through a friend. For a while, he had been working 2-3 dead-end jobs at a time with no opportunities for growth. After hearing about CityLink, he decided to take that first step, and in 2016, he enrolled in Academic Solutions to earn his GED.

Tyrone credits his family and his faith for giving him the inspiration and the motivation to grow as a person and do better in life. Now that he is attending CityLink, he finally feels like he is working towards an end goal. After earning his GED, he plans to work as a janitor for a hospital at the University of Cincinnati, which will in turn pay for his college education. He looks forward to pursuing a medical degree from the University of Cincinnati and eventually becoming a surgical assistant.

The best part about CityLink and Academic Solutions for Tyrone is the atmosphere. “It’s a great environment; everyone is helpful,” he says. “You actually learn down here…it’s quiet, and you can focus.” He adds that the day he earns his GED will probably be the greatest day of his life.

Outside of his classes, Tyrone strives to be an advocate for CityLink every day. “God’s been showing me the way to better things,” he says. “Blessings keep coming, and I want everyone else to come and get blessed too.”

Tyrone also plans to come back to CityLink and volunteer after he earns his GED. He says that CityLink has given him so much, and he looks forward to being able to give back.

GreenLight Fund & CEO

 

Earlier this month, the GreenLight Fund hosted Cinnovation, an event to officially welcome the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) to Cincinnati.

 

CEO was brought to Cincinnati by the GreenLight Fund, a non-profit which aims to give communities the tools to identify and solve their critical, local needs, even if those tools are not found close to home. This organization searches the country to find what’s cutting edge, what’s working, and what fits the particular needs of different communities.

GreenLight Cincinnati knows that, in this year alone, over 2,000 people in our city will return home from prison, with at least 1,000 returning to prison within three years. In a recent video, Tara Noland, Executive Director of GreenLight Fund – Cincinnati, says, “It was important for us to bring CEO to Cincinnati because they fill an important niche. They help people who have been convicted of felonies learn to work, find jobs, and keep jobs.”

In Hamilton County, half of the people who come home after being incarcerated will return to prison within three years unless they have some sort of intervention or support. At CityLink Center, through our partners at the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), we are providing just that: a supporting, job-readiness program for individuals who are at the highest risk of returning to prison.

We have already seen true life change happen from this program. Charles’ story is just one of the many that have yet to be written. We could not be more excited to watch the lives of our neighbors be changed through collaboration in our community. Learn more about this incredible partnership in the video below.

Per Scholas on American Graduate Day

On Saturday, October 14th, the sixth annual American Graduate Day aired on CET, and featured a national segment on the Cincinnati Per Scholas program, a resident partner at CityLink Center. The show ran from 2pm – 6pm, with Per Scholas’ segment airing around 4:20pm.

The American Graduate Day broadcast, which has been on the air since 2012, has traditionally aimed to tell stories and build connections in order to successfully move students from early education through high school graduation. This year, however, was the first year that the show examined post-secondary pathways to success. The focus was on highlighting organizations and programs that equip individuals with skills needed to enter different career paths.

Per Scholas has been a resident partner of CityLink since 2015, and has been opening new doors into the IT world for dozens of unemployed and underemployed adults in Cincinnati each year. Graduates of the program see, on average, a 429% increase in income.

Along with highlighting Per Scholas on a national level, the television program featured Wayne Ivy, the Career Development Director of Per Scholas at CityLink, as an American Graduate Champion. Wayne’s clip focused on the hope that individuals are able to find through Per Scholas, and the success they achieve after graduation.

Watch it here!

MashUp 2017 Recap

 

MashUp 2017  was bigger and better than ever before. If you were able to join us, you witnessed the stories of some of our clients and just a taste of the work we do. At CityLink, we believe in a reconciled city and that by working together we can transform lives and our community one journey at a time.

Thanks to your generosity, MashUp 2017  raised over $100,000! 

This year’s artistic performances inspired and wowed our crowd of nearly 600! Not to mention perfect weather for our Beer Garden, fire pits and a ton of incredible food and drink from our city’s top destinations.

However the real stars of the night shined bright in our client testimonial video that was featured in our finale performance, Together we Rise. If you missed the event or just want to see the impact our partners and people like you and me are having in the lives of our clients, check it out:

Oh, and check out the sweet art project that you helped create. This piece will help us celebrate some of the milestones and stories that have been written within our walls over the past 5 years:

Join us in thanking God for all that He is doing

Thank you for Clients willing to share their story. 

Thank you for the stories you are writing within our walls.

Thank you that you blessed CityLink with over $100,000 in donations and sponsorships. 

Thank you for 75 volunteers stepping into their serving roles. 

Thank you for 11 food and drink supporters. 

Thank you for performers dedicating their time and talent. 

Thank you for a facility to host a 600 guest event.