After completing YWCA St. Paul’s Transitional Housing Program, Claudia’s goals led her back to YWCA St. Paul’s employment services. As a participant in YW Works, she gained the skills and confidence she needed to secure meaningful employment at a job she enjoys. Claudia now shines for her children, and for herself. “My kids see the change in me. I’ve gained confidence. I feel more like I qualify for jobs. [Before the program] I was more afraid to take that risk, maybe because I didn’t believe in myself. Now I’m 100 percent confident in taking that risk and applying for jobs.”
Claudia: [Speaking offscreen while camera pans over YWCA St. Paul facility, and then slowly comes onto screen] The YWCA came to the shelter and they were explaining to me about what their program does, and how they can help me with housing. So I ended up in their transitional housing and that’s where it all started from.
[Onscreen Text] After completing YWCA St. Paul’s Transitional Housing Program, Claudia’s goals led her back to the agency, this time through the YW Works program.
Eileen Lewis, Employment Counselor: The YW’s works program is an Employment Services program that works one-on-one with African American families on welfare, to help them achieve stability.
Claudia: When I first met Eileen [laughter] I don’t know, got her vibe real quick you know, like, I felt like, you know she is the one, that is gonna make stuff happen.
Jamela Pettiford, Consultant: We know that when we say Minnesota family investment program we’re not just dealing with the woman or the father, the children are part of the family and often times many services do not address the children.
Claudia: My kids see the change in me also. Not that I was like more stressed out but trying to hide it from my kids.
Eileen: When you’re in poverty you’re in survival mode and so you’re thinking about: how can I feed my children, where am I going to sleep at night… you’re not necessarily thinking about investing in a six to eight month training program that’s going to get you ahead in the future because you’re worried about the immediate needs. So, when we meet clients where they’re at, we’re taking into account all of the different factors they have in life going on: we’re talking about safety, we’re talking about housing, we’re talking about educational background, legal issues and then we go from there and so stabilization always comes first.
Claudia: There’s a lot of things that I actually learned that I didn’t know about. And by me going to these programs and like Eileen helping me sign up and research on these programs that I signed up for and going to the college for Microsoft, like I have learned on that to the point that I’ve gained confidence.
Eileen: I think the biggest change I’ve seen in Claudia is just a lot more confidence. You know, when we first make a plan we talk about strengths—”what are your strengths?”—and Claudia had to kind of think for a little bit. And now, when we make a plan and we’re like what are your strength? She’s like: I’m a great mom, I’m organized, I’m a good communicator, I’m positive, I’m dependable, I’m in all this stuff and just goes on and I love seeing that confidence that she’s built up.
Claudia: I feel more like I qualify for these jobs, so it’s like I’m more like a risk-taker now instead of back then. I was more like afraid to take that risk because maybe because I didn’t believe in myself or I just didn’t feel confident because I didn’t have the experience or the skills. Now I’m like 100% like confident in taking that risk to apply for some job. Now that I feel like I’m growing every day like I’m learning new things and I just want to see where my light takes me. [chuckles] so yeah.