Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Community Action Helps People Get Ahead

By Michelle R. Hopkins, Community Relations Manager, Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency
Two years ago Alexis decided that she wanted her daughter out of a regular day care and into a quality learning environment. She sought out Head Start, a curriculum Alexis knew she could trust, at the Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency (CAA). A single mom expecting her second child, Alexis also signed up for Head Start’s Pregnant Moms Program. Unfortunately, hard times hit, Alexis lost her job and was forced to move back home with her mother.





CAA case managers’ who had gotten to know Alexis, admired her determination to do better for herself and thought she might be a good candidate for their Roosevelt Transitional Housing program. The Roosevelt Transitional Housing program provides transitional residential living assistance for low-income families with pre-school aged children. The program offers a 16 week training program and intensive case management to help residents achieve self-sufficiency.

Alexis was chosen for the program and moved into an apartment in December of 2011. “I was excited” she said. Finally, a place to call her own, a townhouse with two bedrooms and one and a half baths. No more living with her mom.

The struggle was not over; Alexis needed to set goals – something that the Roosevelt program requires. At the top of the list was to get a job to help support her family.
In search of employment, Alexis often wound up at Kelly Services, a temp agency. One day, the manager at Kelly offered Alexis administrative work at the agency office. After four months she was given a raise and gradually more responsibility.

Today at 29, Alexis is one of the supervisors responsible for helping other people find jobs. “I always said I want to be sitting on the other side of the table (at Kelly) and that’s where I am now.”
Alexis’ circumstances continued to improve. Someone at her church offered Alexis a deal on a car she couldn’t refuse; she’s working toward a degree in Psychology and Human Development from the Union Institute and University; and she is an active member of the Head Start Parent Board.

“Alexis is an inspiration. She knows where she wants to go and what she wants out of life. She’s a good example for the other women in the program,” said Devona Howell, Roosevelt Housing family services case manager.

Alexis is due to transition out of the two year program in December. When asked about how the future looks Alexis said, “Super bright - I’m going to have to wear sunglasses.”

For more information about Community Action programs in your area, visit www.oacaa.org. Note, not all Community Action Agencies offer these programs.


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