Help When I was at my Worst

Being a single Dad of a 4 year old starting preschool isn’t easy. Without the support Dustin received he tells us that his daughter would have experienced more trauma. This wasn’t the life he imagined for his daughter so he decided to do something about it. 

With an army of support, Dustin has landed a job to help provide for his daughter, Vivienne. And we couldn’t be more excited for him. After he rang the bell declaring his new employment, Dustin shares with how his CityLink Family has helped him along the way…

“Brian with Catholic Charities has been a big help with working through being a positive structured father to Vivienne. Amanda, Tamiko, Derrell, Belinda, Christina, Nina, Carol, basically everyone in Cincinnati Works have been pro team Dustin from the beginning. Everyone at Children, Inc. are awesome kind-hearted people. The volunteers at the front desk are always smiling when I walk into the building. The whole atmosphere and interactions with everyone at CityLink is positive and up lifting. Monica is my service coordinator, Rachel has been my number two.”  

After a Clothing Connection appointment on Tuesday, Dustin will be off to work equipped what he feels is a foundation for his daughter’s life, the mentality of taking each day as it comes, and resting in knowing that his faith and his support system will be there for him as he keeps working on his goals. He leaves us with the sentiment “I am very thankful to have help when was at my worst”. We can’t wait to see how the choices that you’ve made over the past couple months shape your future and Vivienne’s too. Well done Dustin, we’re so proud of you. 

MashUp 2018

Your eyes, ears and taste buds will be taken on an epic adventure through four separate live performances featuring unexpected combinations of music, art and dance. Plus, a hero inspired art project our guests (thats you!) help create. All of this mashed up with amazing food and adult beverages from some of the city’s hottest venues! 

Early Bird Tickets: $40 extended through September 14th!

 

Pre-Sale Tickets: $45 through October 5th

Door Tickets: $50 (if not sold out… and this event sells out!)

 

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

 

 

Thank you to our generous sponsors!

Social OTR

CityLink continues expanding to support more of our neighbors on their journey to reaching their full potential.

Our latest partnership, a culinary training program partners life skills from CincinnatiWorks, SmartMoney, CPS, Catholic Charities with industry training from Findlay Market.  Student cooks will spend four weeks in our classroom kitchen at CityLink Center, followed by a 3 month apprenticeship in the kitchen of Social OTR.

“Social OTR is more than just the name of the restaurant, it’s tied to the philosophy of both the eatery and the program behind it, which will partner with CitLink to train up people who might otherwise experience high barriers to employment to work in Cincinnati’s kitchens.”

The goal is to have the restaurant up and running in a couple months at the 1819 Elm Street location. Read more about this exciting partnership in this article recently released by Cincinnati Business Courier.

You can get engaged in Social OTR through the kickstarter campaign which will provide meals for targeted community members and offer you some great perks too….then stay tuned for the program launch in October and restaurant launch in December.

Called to Serve

Julie had a clear calling from God when she first came to CityLink – she was meant to pursue a career in ministry; however, she felt like she was stuck in limbo. She knew she had a calling from the Lord, but wasn’t sure where to start. She came to the career fair at CityLink, which was hosted by Cincinnati Works in May, to figure out how to begin her career. After visiting many potential employers, Julie decided to become a client and engage in Cincinnati Works’ Jump Start class to brush up on her resume building, interview, and networking skills.

Julie says that the Jump Start class built up her self-confidence and taught her useful interview skills that she wouldn’t have otherwise known. She also enjoyed meeting and networking with everyone else in the class. She adds that the skills she learned from this class have been very helpful, and that she will definitely use them to present herself to future employers.

Outside of class, Julie engaged in a multitude of services. She attended women’s group and bible study, utilized the drop-in childcare services at VISIONS Early Learning Center, and was even able to make dental and optical appointments for her entire family. Her children received much-needed dental procedures, and her fiancé was even able to receive a new pair of glasses.

The client-centered model of CityLink has been incredibly helpful for Julie and her family, especially since they are limited to one vehicle. She says that it is a huge time saver to be able to bring her family to dental and optical appointments in the same building where she is already engaging in classes.

Now that Julie has graduated Jump Start, she plans to become ordained and begin her career in ministry. Her biggest goal, she says, is to give back to the community and help anyone who needs help. Once her career takes off, she has goals of eventually starting her own ministry.

Trust in God’s Provision

Imagine you’re back in grade school… You know that feeling on the last day right before summer break? You’re so excited for the adventures but there is a twinge of sadness to say goodbye to the teachers you’ve gotten to know so well? Well that’s exactly how we feel when a class of Per Scholas students graduate and move on into the wonderful world of IT. But man, when they come back to visit it is simply a blast to catch up.

2016 Per Scholas graduate David (left)  recently stopped down to say hello (and goodbye) right before his flight to New Mexico! That’s right- David has accepted a position at Fluent Health. He’s pumped not only to continue to thrive in his work life (not to mention the bump in pay) but also get out there and enjoy that Albuquerque scenery!   

The grind that Per Scholas students put in day in and day out for 10 weeks is inspiring to watch. We love watching the progression of each class. Every 10 weeks we watch individuals transform their thoughts and feelings of self doubt and stress into confidence and victory.

When we find ourselves trapped in the fog of life it is easy to focus on the negative. But when clients like David show up two years later, we are reminded of God’s provision. We are reminded that a 10 week class everyday isn’t easy and stress isn’t fun.  When we are in it, in the ‘muck’, it’s all we can see. Yet, He still says “Trust Me” and when we do, when we get through it, like David did, God smiles down as says “I told you” and that my friends is a beautiful thing.

Good Luck, Doug!

Last Thursday, June 21st we celebrated Doug Green’s last day as Program Director of Center for Employment Opportunities’ (CEO) Cincinnati chapter. While Doug helped launch CEO, Cincinnati in March 2017, he’s been a part of the CityLink family since the doors opened in 2013, working previously at Cincinnati Works.

CEO is a national organization that offers comprehensive employment services exclusively for people with criminal records. CEO’s model is based on a highly structured program of life skill education, short-term paid transitional employment, full-time job placement and post-placement services.

 Doug joined CEO’s mission with a heart for serving returning citizens; a space he’s been passionate about for some time.  Thursday he shared that he began this work with the hope of starting something he could leave behind for his children and the next generation to continue. “I knew there were things that I could accomplish and things that I couldn’t,” Doug said, “Those things unaccomplished go on to my children to accomplish and create a legacy for themselves to pass on to their children.”

Doug leaves CEO to continue pursuing this passion by starting a construction company that will serve as a second-chance employer to those with a criminal background. 

We are beyond grateful for the time, energy, patience, and persistence Doug has poured into hundreds of clients lives. He has helped plant a seed of hope and grace in this city and we pray God will continue to bless his path.

Zoo Day 2018

 

On Saturday, Clients, Volunteers, and Staff headed to the Cincinnati Zoo for Zoo Day 2018. Why do we do this? Well, we weren’t created to do life alone. Zoo Day provides not only an opportunity for authentic fellowship but also an opportunity to engage families.

It was so refreshing to extend our community outside the CityLink walls. Folks met before hand at CityLink Center to eat some pizza generously donated by Dewey’s Pizza.  And thanks to our valued church partner,  Landmark Church, transportation was provided and we all got to and fro without a hitch!

We saw polar bears feeling a bit lethargic under the hot summer sun. But hey can you blame them?!(photo credit: google) Even the humans were feeling  sluggish in the 90 degree heat!

But it was well worth the adventure! And hey, we even got some rad stickers for completing the scavenger hunt.

Did you know frogs can’t swallow with their eyes open? Now you do. You’re welcome.

 

Finding New Success

Doris had moved from Cincinnati to Atlanta and was in search of a stable career when a friend told her about Per Scholas. After doing a bit of research, Doris decided it was exactly what she was looking for, and that it would be a great fit. She applied and was accepted into the Atlanta class. She focused on her goal of employment and persisted through many challenges. Unfortunately, despite her hard work, life happened, and Doris was unable to finish the program.

When a family emergency brought her back to Cincinnati, Doris discovered that Per Scholas had another branch at the CityLink Center. After some consideration, she decided to apply again. When she was accepted into the Cincinnati class, Doris made a vow to finish.

While the two programs are pretty similar, Doris says that she feels like the Cincinnati branch of Per Scholas has more of an advantage. She says that she has received a lot more materials like tool kits, flashcards, books, notes, etc. in Cincinnati than she did in Atlanta.

At CityLink, Doris also has access to services that she didn’t have in Atlanta, which she said has made all the difference. One of her biggest supports is the onsite VISIONS Early Learning Center, where she is able to drop off her children in the morning and pick them up after class. Having the daycare onsite also allows her to check in on her children throughout the day. Without this service, Doris says that she may have ended up missing class and being removed from the program.

“VISIONS has really taken a weight off my shoulders,” she says. “It’s so convenient, and I don’t have to worry about making extra trips.”

Aside from the daycare, Doris has taken advantage of optical appointments through the Health and Wellness Center, where she received new glasses. She has also received professional clothing for class and her future career through Clothing Connection.

Doris is on track to graduate from Per Scholas next week! While she was upset at first that Atlanta did not work

out, she says that she is so happy to now be part of Cincinnati’s program. After graduation, Doris plans to find an IT career

with opportunity for growth and perhaps head back to school to earn a degree in Computer Science. She also adds,  “Mr. Delrae said we’d all become a family, and we actually have. Everyone is supportive… They’ve been great! They told me, ‘You’re

going to finish this time.’ All the study groups are happy to help each other. They’ve become my family, and I’m going to miss it.”

We are sad to see them go but are so excited to see what is next! Best of luck Per Scholas grads- we’re rooti

ng for you!

A Perfect Fit

Alexandria first walked through our doors with dreams of pursuing a career in IT. When she walked into her first day of class, and realized that she was not meeting the dress code, Alexandria thought that that dream was shattered. She did not have any professional clothes, and was unable to afford new outfits on such short notice. Her Service Coordinator signed her up for a Clothing Connection appointment. Clothing Connection is a service through St. Vincent de Paul that provides professional clothing to CityLink clients.

During her appointment, Alexandria had help from volunteers who acted as personal shoppers and chose different outfits for her. She says that having this help made it much less tedious to find things, especially since she doesn’t particularly enjoy clothes shopping.

“Going through clothing racks is tough,” she says. “The volunteers actually listened and took my style into consideration. It really relieved my stress.”

Not only have Alexandria’s new professional clothes helped her with mock interviews at CityLink, but they have also helped her meet the dress code and stay in Per Scholas. Now that she has graduated, her new clothes will also help with job interviews.

“I feel brand new in my clothes!” she says. “I’m not usually a big skirt person, but when I dress up, I feel accomplished.”

Alexandria adds that she would recommend “the whole CityLink ordeal” to everyone. She says that CityLink has truly helped her reach her goals, and that Clothing Connection was a huge part of it. She is now able to present herself professionally for future career prospects.

“Clothing Connection has everything!” she says. “I believe everyone should take advantage of it.”

Reaching New Heights

Traveling to a new country was something Ryanna had never imagined. She had spent a long time overwhelmed with loans, life expenses, and unemployment. When she first heard about CityLink, she came by to check out Cincinnati Works in hopes of finding full-time employment. After finding a secure job, Ryanna realized that she needed help managing her finances. She didn’t have a savings account, had never built a budget, and didn’t know anything about credit. She got engaged with SmartMoney, where she was able to take classes like basic budgeting, understanding credit, understanding loans, and prioritizing debt while meeting one-on-one with an on-site financial counselor. Through this process, Ryanna was able to build a budget, begin building her credit, start her first savings account, and pay off all her debts. She says that SmartMoney has made her finally feel, “financially comfortable.”

In fact, Ryanna is taking a vacation to Cancun, Mexico with her saved money! This trip will not only be her first time out of the country, it will also be her first time on an airplane.

“I get to experience something I’ve never experienced in my life,” she says. “If I hadn’t gone through SmartMoney, I’d never be able to go.”

She adds that it is a relief, and is very exciting, to be able to take a luxurious vacation, not worry about her finances, and even have extra money set aside in case of an emergency. Instead of stressing about finances, she will be able to spend her vacation relaxing by the pool and enjoying Mexico’s beautiful sunshine. Ryanna plans to stay engaged with CityLink and continue meeting with her financial counselor to keep improving her budgets and savings plan.