Thursday, November 15, 2007

Moving forward

What an amazing group of women! For the last four days, 13 women from Turner Courts attended a job readiness program (see more at Sylvia's blog:

Each day, the women talked. They talked about ways to approach job interviews, appropriate attire, things to say. But they also bonded with each other. Despite the fact that all of the women live in Turner Courts, many of them didn't know each other. They bonded as they talked about personal issues and discovered things about each other.

As I inquired about their experience, one of my friends explained that it really helped them get to know each other. She spoke of one lady (I'll call her Scheree) who she had seen around at the After-School Academy. She explained to me that, at the beginning of the class, Scheree was very quiet and said very little. By Thursday, however, she was completely different. She had a sparkle in her eye, a smile on her face, and she made comments during class.

Though I didn't see Scheree in the class, I talked to her after class yesterday. Her eyes lit up as she told me about the class. She explained that the classes were really helpful because, at 30, she's never had a job before and never knew about things like how to dress, what to say, and how to interview.

Today was their last day. When I walked in around 1:00, I immediately inquired about the cake sitting on the table, hoping someone had brought it for snacks. Sylvia excitedly explained that I should've been there an hour earlier. All 13 participants had gotten together to bring a spread of food that looked like Thanksgiving! ...broccoli-rice casserole, catfish, fried chicken, cornbread, salad, peach cobbler, and much more. (I was very happy to find out there was still some left so I could get a plate! :) )

As I watch what is going on at the After-School Academy and the Educational Outreach Center, I see a strong community just breaking out of it's shell. We still have a ways to go, but the energy and excitement is palpable.
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