Tonya Linen worked 31 years as a hairstylist. Early in 2018, she heard about the GC3 Employment Program. It crossed her mind that maybe she could change careers. It weighed on her mind and she kept hearing about the success stories from the program graduates getting jobs, working toward advanced certifications, and the personal support graduates receive. She met Tasha Smith, Helping Hands Career Coach, who gave her that motivation to take the next step. She took the plunge and completed the GC3 Employment Bootcamp in June of 2018.
“I am a different person today because of the Youth Empowerment Program,” states Jairon Cumbee, a rising senior. “I had no idea what to expect. I was led to be a part of YEP even though I was only a Junior at the time. Teon Singletary and Tasha Smith made me feel welcomed. It was like I was meant to be a part of YEP. I felt welcomed, and I kept returning each week.”
“I learned more in that one week than I have in most of life about how to get a job. They listened to me and gave me encouragement. I had never had a job in my life. I heard about the program from my sister. I had tried to find jobs, filled out applications, and no callback. I was so down on my luck and lacked the confidence to present myself well to others. I did not know what to expect when I arrived at A Father’s Place for that first day of boot camp.”
“I always thought of myself as a good follower to a good leader. I was surprised to learn that I am a leader,” said Imani Simon, daughter of Cynthia and Ronald Simon, a senior at Georgetown High School. Imani was 1 of 12 students enrolled in our Youth Empowerment Program who completed the North Carolina Outward Bound in the Florida Everglades. “The adventure was many firsts for me: flying in a plane, maneuvering in a massive airport, canoeing and navigating narrow and large bodies of water, seeing turtles and dolphins, evolving into a leader, and much more. The experience changed me in so many ways.”
Read more of Imani’s story.
“YEP is a great program. This program has motivated me to keep going. It gave me a positive outlook and dedication to something I enjoy doing. Every week I push myself to attend meetings even on days where I felt down. YEP has assisted me with direction towards my career path. My plans are to attend Winthrop University in the fall and prepare myself for a career in health care. Life has been pretty busy with working and also taking a 4-week CNA training class, but I am determined to finish strong. I will complete this class on August 1st at which I will prepare for the exam so that I will become a certified nursing assistant. I’m honored that I took the time in joining YEP. It has been a wonderful experience I would do it all again. I would also like to thank everyone within the program who stood beside me with guidance.”
India Brown, a recent graduate of our first Youth Empowerment Program and a new graduate Georgetown High School. India completed a job shadowing program at Tidelands Health in the Spring. While taking the CNA course, she has been working at Walmart and getting prepared to enter Winthrop University this Fall.
“This year changed my life. I could not have done this without the support from Ms. Smith and Mr. Singletary. I look forward to my future,” says Quadrae Reed.
Quadrae graduated from the Youth Empowerment Program and Georgetown High School. He is enrolled in a welding program at Horry Georgetown Technical College. He works at J. Peters in Pawleys Island.
“It was January 2018 when I started in the My Career Path program. The first night of the class, I can remember thinking, ‘I sure hope this hour goes by fast!’ I had my mind made up that I wasn’t going to say or share ANYTHING about myself because inside I was not happy or satisfied with where I was at in life spiritually, emotionally, or mentally.”
“I had lost my job due to the company closing down. I had actually met Tasha Smith the Career Coach from Helping Hands one day by her coming into my job before closing. I explained to her that we were closing and I didn’t know what I was going to do.”
In January, Elizabeth was 12th in line outside the doors of Helping Hands. She was hoping to receive help to keep her lights on. She has worked as a housekeeper, most recently on Pawleys Island. After summer rental season, though, she was part of company layoffs.
“Even when I can’t see the way… I see God’s hands at Helping Hands.”
“Words cannot explain the benefits and positive feelings I have. Suffice it to say I would not be where I am today without their continuing support and guidance. My boys are now in a good daycare program and I’m about to start coursework to get my commercial driver’s license. Thank you Helping Hands and thank GOD for them and bless the volunteers.”