Friday, March 25, 2011

Work--Part 1

What follows are case notes, three stories to be presented in three parts, about students who participated in CitySquare's Build4Success construction skill training program.  The difficulties folks face and the bravery them employ to create better lives keeps me going.  The pathway forward and upward seldom turns out to be built along a straight line!  But progress happens!

Sam Griffin – Sam has struggled with a number of issues since completing the Build4Success program in 2009. When he originally enrolled in B4S, he had been out of prison on parole only a few months after having served 17 years of a 45 year sentence for armed robbery. He got his driver’s license and then landed a job with Ed Bell Construction; after he went to work he was doing well. He saved enough to buy a truck (a deal through Ed Bell, they arranged for him to purchase one of the trucks their company was selling and he got a great deal from them). After working at Ed Bell for about 9 months, he was offered a better position with Azteca-Omega. The job at Azteca-Omega would provide him with benefits and training. He left his job at Ed Bell on the Friday before last Easter and was to start with Azteca-Omega on Monday following Easter (2010) when he was shot early Easter morning in the eye, it was a case of mistaken identity. I think most of us are somewhat familiar with Sam’s story surrounding the shooting but to refresh – Sam lost his eye. The CitySquare family rallied around Sam, even taking up a collection to help him out; Project Access worked with him getting his medical needs met, SWS helped him get moved out of a bad living situation in a bad part of town (he was forced to keep all his clothes in his truck so his brother wouldn’t steal them). CitySquare's Social Work Services (SWS) has helped Sam get into an apartment he found in the Junius Heights area and through donations he has been able to furnish it and SWS has helped him with his rent. Sam has endured several surgeries to repair damage to his eye socket and now has a prosthetic eye; he still suffers hearing loss as a result of the shooting. This past fall, Sam enrolled in the Path2Success course offered by WorkPaths and graduated in December just before Christmas. He has not been released to return to work yet but we anticipate that happening soon. My Sunday School class is going to purchase the hearing aids he needs, this should be the last step in being released to work. He will be part of the initial crew on the Habitat project in which CitySquare will be framing 50 new homes.

Through all of this, Sam has kept a positive outlook and has worked hard at recovering from his injuries, both physical and emotional. He has spoken at orientations about the opportunities afforded through WorkPaths training, he participated as an evaluator at tryouts, and most recently came to the DFW Education Center to talk to the current training class about ‘taking the course seriously’. He is very articulate and one of the other evaluators at tryouts told us he should be a motivational speaker. What he says comes from his heart. He is a great example of "hope."

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