Throughout my childhood, I was very fortunate to receive the bare minimum of luxury. I had a roof over my head, a meal every day, and birthdays and Christmases were always fulfilling. Unfortunately, due to my mother’s disability and the poor neighborhoods I lived around, I wasn’t given any kind of true guidance or preparation for adult life.
When I was in my junior year of high school, my family’s main provider passed away, leaving my mother and me without any source of income. We began living off food stamps and my mother spent her disability checks only on bills. There was a lot of pressure for me to find any kind of job that would help me help her.
My grades weren’t the best, I didn’t participate in clubs or extracurricular activities, and I had no idea what having a job really meant, let alone how to sell myself to employers. I desperately tried to sell my art online and often applied for coding jobs for websites, but applicants with proper schooling were always preferred over me.
Just before my 21st birthday, I came to CareerSource Pasco Hernando to get help finding a job, then was recommended to Eckerd Connects | Workforce Development. I wasn’t sure what was to be expected from the program, but I was willing to try anything that might help put me on the right path.
After only two weeks, I learned how to build a resume, what a resume actually was, what Soft Skills were and how they were perfectly acceptable to list for yourself and was given the opportunity to participate in an internship at CareerSource Pasco Hernando itself. My case manager, Katie Stroman, and my instructor, Glenn Anderson, felt like they were family to me after just a short period of working with them. After my internship, I was hired in a temporary position, and have been at CareerSource Pasco Hernando for almost six months total now. My mother no longer has to worry about bills or food and is able to enjoy a relaxing life, just as I no longer have to worry about her and can be fulfilled by helping her.
When my temporary position runs out, I have full confidence that I will know how to find my next path. I never once thought I was employable, as if working just wasn’t something I was capable of doing, but Eckerd Connects gave me everything I could need to finally take a step into the “adult world” and not be so scared.