Can you imagine being 23 years old and homeless? That was the reality for Jasmine, a participant in Paxen, a program of Eckerd Kids. At the age of 21, Jasmine’s grandmother, which was the only family she had, passed away. Her grandmother was not able to leave anything behind for Jasmine so with her passing Jasmine was left with no family, home or financial livelihood. She ended up living at the Salvation Army Homeless Shelter, but from there is where she found Paxen and was able to get the assistance she needed from the Career Pathways program.
When Jasmine first came to Career Pathways she felt overwhelmed. She had limited work experience, interpersonal skills, job knowledge, and didn’t possess basic financial knowledge or life skills. Instructors and staff members worked with Jasmine to fill in her knowledge gaps and instill within her a sense of confidence. At the end of the program, Jasmine had earned her nationally recognized certificate in customer service and sales, and had entered into a work internship with the Atlanta Mission Thrift Store.
In the beginning, Jasmine was very reluctant to take the position with the Atlanta Mission Thrift Store because she didn’t think she would like it. However, Tammy of Atlanta Mission is one of the program’s best work experience mentors so the staff encouraged Jasmine that this opportunity would give her the job training she needed for long-term success. Immediately, Jasmine was accepted and well liked at the store. Jasmine also changed her mindset after meeting and working alongside Tammy. She was very dedicated to the job as she walked 30 minutes every day from the shelter to the thrift store to maintain her employment.
When the internship completed, Tammy was so impressed that she hired Jasmine as a store associate. Jasmine has been saving her money from the internship and her new job to get a place of her own soon. She also opened up her first bank account which was another recommendation from Eckerd Kids’ Career Pathways program.
Jasmine has come such a long way and completely turned her life around. She has improved her communication skills so much and is a more positive person. Program Manager David Conners said, “We are very proud of Jasmine, and all her hard work and determination. She really is the ideal person of what we would like out of our Career Pathways participants. Great job Jasmine!”