God’s Uplifting Work: 2016 Impacting Lives
- Facilitated 6 life advocate training sessions
- 10 nonprofit partnerships formed
- 16 clients were served
- 27 life advocates were trained
- $1700 client resources shared
Yismaw is an Ethiopian immigrant who is married with three children. He was connected with UpWorks through LSS because of his desire to increase his employability and support his family. Yismaw had an infectious eagerness and excitement that spread to life advocates, staff and even his children. One of his children noticed his motivation and excitement and asked where he was going, so he invited her to join with him as he met with his life advocates to discuss his goals.
One of his goals was to increase his employability and work more hours, however a barrier stopping him from achieving his employment goals was that he did not have his driver’s license. So with the help of his life advocates, Yismaw studied and passed his Drivers Permit test and his on his way to obtaining his driver’s license.
William came to UpWorks through Metro Hope Ministries after completing their addiction treatment program. Now that he is in recovery he wants to make positive changes in his life. Due to his addictions William’s family was leery about allowing him back into their lives.
While working with our life advocates, a need for a car was identified. One of the life advocates was able to assist William in obtaining a car. That car has catapulted him into a new trajectory and has started the healing process with his family. After a visit home, his step-dad noticed the car and asked how he was able to get one. He then told his family about the support he was receiving and working with UpWorks to find stable livable employment. After hearing his story about working with UpWorks, Williams family asked him to move back home. As a result, he was able to find a good paying job with Faribault Foods.
It started with getting a car and finding employment which became a chance for a family to reconcile and restore their relationships.
Abdifatah is a well-educated new Somali asylee, however his credentials were not recognized here. With the help of UpWorks he was able to get his credentials accredited. While he is still looking for full-time employment that uses his skills, he is working for Metro Transit. One of his long-term goals is to become an advocate for other new immigrants, helping them the way he has been helped.
Often when clients come to us they are down and out, beaten down, and often they only see the mistakes they have made. Such was the case for Mickey. When she entered the program, she was just finishing addiction treatment through Metro Hope Ministries. She had been trapped for so long in the addiction cycle that she just wasn’t sure of where to go or what to do. However, we serve a God of restoration and transformation. Mickey was a totally different person at the beginning than at the end even her demeanor changed.
At first, she was distrustful and thought UpWorks was just another job program which would help her get a job and that would be it. However, what she discovered was it was a relationship. She found someone who was willing to stand in the court of life with her.
“This has been a motivating and uplifting journey with Nina, and UpWorks. I was unemployed when I began with them, and now I am employed and working about 65 hours a week. Nina helped me with my credit report, my resume, and my personal empowerment. She prays with me and for me. I am very blessed to be part of UpWorks. Thank you UpWorks”
Originally Mikey was thinking due to her criminal history the only place she could work was at a restaurant as a server. However, her life advocate challenged her to look deeper and discover who God has made her to be. After taking several discovery assessments, talking through her passions, and being encouraged to do a few informational interviews she discovered she is passionate about serving others and supporting others who are coming through life crises, like what she has been through. Now she is working in an entry level position in a drug rehab and in a restaurant for now.
Due to the years spent in the addiction cycle, Mickey lost control of her money and had no clue what her debt even looked like. All she knew was that was a huge big monster stopping her from pursuing her passion of serving others. After pulling and discussing her debt, Nina suggested pulling a credit report and reviewing with her so she would know. As a result of those conversations she was able to make decisions to begin to pull herself out of debt and she even started saving in an emergency fund. So far, she has saved $1250! Mickey said “Because of working with Nina, I feel free. For so long being an addict my debt just built up and was a huge stressor for me. But now I am feel free and I can move forward. “
Throughout the 12 weeks period, it has been very busy. I was hired on my job a week or two after joining UpWorks. I wasn’t able to see Brenda weekly as anticipated because I worked full time and had no babysitters. She was very kind to accommodate with my needs and we were able to talk over the phone after work. I really appreciate Brenda and I definitely saw that she wants me to succeed in my new job. With that she’s always giving me good and useful advice.
As a single mother of three little ones (3yrs, 2yrs, 7 months), sometimes it’s overwhelming and busy to focus on what my goals are and working with UpWorks has helped me better see my future and helping me reach my goals. I am more content with where I’m at now versus before being jobless and having unclear goals.
Shortly after being matched she found a job in her field. Brenda, her Life Advocate was able to be flexible in meeting and is becoming part of her village. Mai would call Brenda to help her work through work place dynamics and conflict. Helping her navigate the culture of the company. At her graduation, Mai expressed that she felt so loved on and supported by Brenda. She felt so supported by UpWorks that she is encouraging her boyfriend to connect with UpWorks.
A few days after meeting a new potential ministry partner, I received an email from the individual stating her daughter could use a Life Advocate and assistance finding a job. After reviewing the request, the client was a little outside of our recommended selection criteria. Something inside of me though, told me I needed to meet this young gal. After a few minutes of conversation, I knew we could assist her. She was bright, polite, and motivated. This client grew up in Asia, and from all exterior indicators looked and talked like someone US born. But, she was culturally Asian. She needed a friend to affirm that her anxiousness was real, and provide some cultural guidance. She now is working at Bachman’s with the long-term plan of studying horticulture. What a blessing to meet her, to play a small role in helping her find direction, and to provide affirmation as she gets her footings on US soil.
“I am so grateful for this experience. I met two wonderful women and I gained so much knowledge, wisdom, and confidence. I was able to rely on them for all of these things and more. I wasn’t taught to have confidence, I didn’t get support from my family. I didn’t even know how to budget Bonnie and Shellene helped me with all of this. They are my blessings from the Lord and I’ll be grateful for them and this entire experience.”
Six weeks ago, Angelica was sitting in our office for a matching meeting with her life advocates Shellene and Bonnie. At first all she could see and talk about were the barriers, the many ways she had failed. She felt like a failure. However, both her life advocates could see beyond the failures and saw a young woman who God loved and who had been a great mother, making sure her kids were well taken care of. By the end of that meeting Angelica was able to voice the good things she had done and that her past failures did not define her.
Fast forward 6 weeks, Angelica was hired by the City of St Paul Park and Rec to be part of their seasonal work in combination with office work with a chance for this to turn from a seasonal job into a full-time job. Leading up to the interview, her life advocates helped her formulate her resume highlighting her strengths and they discussed how to approach her criminal history. As a result, Angelica felt the confidence to address her criminal history, she was able to discuss it and face it head on. As a result of the confidence and learnings she expressed she was hired on the spot for the job. She is now beginning to plan what she will do next after this seasonal job ends
Addiction is a cruel master. Alison had been a nurse prior to being caught up in addiction. Now that she is on the other side of it she is moving toward her goals and hope is being restored. She has been working as an on call personal care assistant and is moving forward with building a new career that still resonates with her nurse’s heart, she is in the pool to become an EMT with the Minneapolis Fire Dept.
“The very first time I met them I felt understood and cared about. They listened to me, really listened to me and helped me find my inner strength. The encouragement helped me feel like I could do anything. Kevin dared me to dream big! When I thought, I had big dreams he said to dream bigger. I have overcome addiction, abuse and self-destruction and the pain and chaos was astounding. I went hard in my addiction and now of the people at UpWorks have helped me persevere and work hard with a purpose. I know my purpose and what God wants for me.”