What a Guy!

We suggested a career in radio announcing based on his deep voice and charming personality but it turns out our God had a different plan for our friend Guy.

He initially went to school to pursue pre-law and attended Cincinnati State. During that time, he took a basic computer class. The professor for that class realized Guy’s potential for not only problem solving but also his interpersonal skills. He was able to effectively relate to people and get them to a place where they could be assured that they would have a working device.

Guy was hired part-time at Cincinnati State to work with computers, but after earning his Associate’s Degree, he moved on to Xavier University to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice.

During an interruption in his career, Guy was watching the news and saw a story on Per Scholas, an IT training program. He had never heard about CityLink or Per Scholas before, but he knew that it fit with his passion to help those without voices. He called CityLink, and earned a spot in the Per Scholas IT program. At first, Guy thought there was no way he could complete the class. He worked hard, utilized all his time and resources, and after 8 weeks, he graduated the program and was ready to take his certification exams. When he passed his tests and became certified, he decided he wanted to look for not just a job, but something he can enjoy. He wanted to be someplace where he could contribute even a little to the life of someone else and that is exactly what he did.

Shortly after his certification, he accepted a position through SABIS working at a charter school in Mt. Auburn. In this position, Guy not only gets to put his IT skills to great use, but he also feels like he’s making a difference in students’ lives. His main job is troubleshooting and working with software that’s synced with state testing sites, ensuring that any challenges students may face are met, and that the testing is ethical. He says it’s an opportunity to look at students and see where the struggles are. He is then able to engage students and help them overcome any struggles they may have.

“CityLink and Per Scholas gave me a new outlook on life,” he says. “We can’t break barriers if we’re in the same old ways. It’s amazing to walk into a building and have so many organizations working together so seamlessly.”

After finishing the Per Scholas program and earning his job, Guy was asking himself how he could show his appreciation the most. He decided to start giving back to CityLink, which he says was a no-brainer. He spoke with his boss about making a part of each paycheck go directly to CityLink. “There’s nothing I can do to fully express to say here’s what I’ve gotten from CityLink,” he says. “I hope my contribution will allow someone else to have those same experiences.”

Guy  is currently putting in Sweat Equity, the last step before he receives the keys to his car through ChangingGears. He also plans to return to Per Scholas in the summer to obtain his Network+ and Security+ certifications.

Tax Season is Upon us…

We get it. Filling Taxes is messy & confusing.

If you our someone you know could use some assistance,  The United Way is teaming up with H&R Block to provide families with free tax filing services for any household earning $66,000 or less. This free tax prep can save you $250 in fees, and make sure you get all the credits and refunds you deserve. You can participate in this program either online or in person.

The online program is offered through MyFreeTaxes.com. Check out the Video Below to learn more.

Or, get help in person

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) offers free in-person tax filing support for families with incomes under $54,000 through trained and certified volunteers at walk-in or appointment sites throughout the region. To find a VITA site near you, call 211 or click here.

 

 

If not us, Who? If not now, When?

As we remember Martin Luther King, we need to rekindle the urgency to see his dream of people being judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.

At CityLink, we get to see our neighbors take the brave steps towards reaching their full potential through the incredible partners we have in one location.  We get to see relationships form across racial and socio-economic lines, where those lines blur and people see one another as the beautifully inspired creation of God.

We have seen over 1,000 people in the last year engage towards a better life….and we need YOUR help.  You can become a part of the movement by taking the brave step to improve your own life or support a neighbor on their journey.  Join us now.

 

A New Path

We love experiencing the determination and drive that John brings day in and day out to CityLink. John has been busy working towards his goals in Per Scholas. After hearing about CityLink from his sister, he decided to apply to both the Information Technology (IT) and the Quality Assurance (QA) classes offered through Per Scholas.

John says that the QA program is challenging but very useful for people who want to have a career in software testing. He thinks that the instructors are knowledgeable and present the lessons in a very creative fashion. He adds that the program is, “like finding a gold mine in the middle of a dessert.”

We love seeing what God is doing in John’s life. His mention of finding a gold mine in the middle of a dessert reminds us that God loves us so much, he creates rivers in dry land and paths in the wilderness.

“It’s [Per Scholas] a program that is put in place to serve the community,” he says. “It exemplifies Christ’s teaching that man is his brother’s keeper because it provides you with the knowledge you need to acquire a job that allows you to serve others.”

As a CityLink client, John also has access to all of CityLink’s Supporting Services. He has visited the Health and Wellness Center, where he was able to receive  a new pair of glasses. He has also been engaging with Catholic Charities, counseling, which has been helping him accomplish personal goals that are very fulfilling.

John is on track to graduate from the Per Scholas program in February. After graduation, he hopes to get a job with Thrive Impact Sourcing, the same company his sister works for. He also plans to stay engaged with CityLink through the SmartMoney program. John, we are excited to see where this new and exciting path you are on leads.

New Year, New Job?

Happy 2018!

We are excited to ring in the new year and also find that special someone to join our team in a client service role.

If you are interested (or know someone who is) in working full-time to support our mission, check out the job descriptions at: https://citylinkcenter.org/about-us/careers

Our team runs hard after God’s call and our opportunity to see our neighbors reach their full potential through providing holistic and client centered services.

All applicants should send a resume and cover letter to HR@citylinkcenter.org

 

Christmas Blessings

Our fifth annual Holiday Portrait project was a huge success! In early December, our clients and their families had the opportunity to bring their families and friends in for free, professional portraits. They received an print of their favorite photo along with digital copies of all their photos – just in time for Christmas! Everyone had a blast, and all of the photos turned out beautifully. We are uncertain on the number of stomach aches from the overload of cookies and hot chocolate but we do know that families had a great time and left with smiles on their faces.

Thank you to our faithful volunteers helped check people in and overall helped make the day run smoothly. And a special thank you to our photography team of volunteers for using their gifts to bless our clients.  We could not have done it without all of your help. Thank you to everyone involved!

 

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!