I love my job. My actual title is Classroom Instructor; however, I learn so much more than I could ever teach.
At FaithWorks of Abilene, we provide underemployed and unemployed individuals with the confidence and skills necessary for gainful employment. Our mission is to help people find their place in the job market. We use a career counseling curriculum, provide counseling, teach the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, look at the life of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew, and provide lessons in how to deal with conflict.
But that’s a program description. It is important. I love telling people about it. (Seriously…invite me to speak and I will fill you in completely!)
However, there is so much more to FaithWorks than our program. It is all about our students. The reason I learn so much is that a diverse group of students bring their life experiences, their challenges, their unique abilities, and their resolve and determination to the classroom. We have students who have been told for so long they will never amount to anything. They come to us and prove people wrong.
I could tell you about the woman who made a mistake at a young age and spent many years in prison. When she came out, no one wanted to hire her; even though she attained three college degrees while incarcerated. After FaithWorks, she was given a chance by a local employer and has been promoted twice.
I could tell you about the man who was highly educated and working very successful in his field. After a relationship break-up and emotional breakdown he lost everything. When he came to us, he had lost all of his self-confidence. Within two weeks of class starting, his confidence started coming back. He actually became a second teacher in the classroom.
I could tell you about our kitchen coordinator who never held a job for more than six months. After graduating from FaithWorks she started working in our kitchen and has been here for six months. Plus 3 and ½ years.
I could tell you about the woman who was homeless and always drunk who was estranged from her family. When she started, she had been out of work for a while. Due to some medical issues, she has not been able to find full-time work but she has been consistently volunteering ever since graduation. She has maintained her sobriety and has been living in her own home. She has reconciled with many members of her family.
I could tell you about the other 400+ students who have come through our doors.
I could tell you about the single parents who attend class and work part-time jobs in the evenings and weekends to take care of their families while they are in class.
I could tell you about the people working to make their lives better after making mistakes and picking up a criminal record.
I could tell you about the recovering addicts and alcoholics who just needed someone to give them a chance.
I could tell you about the students who experienced an unplanned life transition in their 40s and 50s and needed help getting reestablished.
I could even go on to tell you about how the systems that in place often work to make it more difficult for unemployed people to find work. I could tell you about all the obstacles that are placed in the way and all the hoops that people are made to jump through. I could tell you about the scores of people who keep telling our students, “You can’t.”
But instead of telling you about those, I just want to tell you that every single one of our students has faced a number of challenges. When they come to us, all they need is someone who will say to them, “I am on your side. You can do this.”
And once they receive a little bit of encouragement, they take off.
It truly is never too late to become what you might have been.
*Spring class begins on January 19. If you live in Abilene and would benefit from our program (or know someone who would benefit), check out our website: FaithWorks of Abilene