Before discovering Eckerd Connects, it was tough for Brandie to describe life as anything but rough. As she recalls, “I hadn’t been able to find my place out of high school. I was working dead end jobs or jobs that weren’t fulfilling.” She was struggling to find her way, losing hope and in desperate need of guidance. “Life’s hard, it’s really hard. When you don’t have family or friends to support you, or give you that extra push.”
But Brandie refused to quit and soon found the support she needed through our Eckerd Connects Workforce Development program. She attended workshops, trainings and eventually landed a paid internship with an Animal Shelter, it was a perfect match! Brandie was soon hired on full time, and quickly enrolled into a Vet Tech certification course at her local Technical College. She believes “The job at the Animal Shelter opened a lot of doors for me because I found my career path.”
Things were finally starting to look up, Brandie was doing everything she could to be successful but still struggling to stay afloat. “I was actually living in a shed during this time, so I didn’t have running water, or a lot of the things you really need to try to continue to push forward.” she recalls, and with no family to help she had limited options for change.
Many young adults, like Brandie, struggle to get by with limited family support. This is what makes our Success Award Initiative so important. With her new job, Brandie could afford the monthly rent of an apartment but how would she pay the down payment? Her living conditions required an immediate change. She didn’t have time to save up.
When the career coaches at Eckerd Connects discovered her situation, they knew she was a perfect candidate for a Success Award. When asked about her experience with Brandie, Area Manager Caroline Rogerson expressed “(Brandie) has big dreams and has grown tremendously while she’s been in the program. When referring to success in our program, Brandie will always come to mind, I think she should be continuously commended for the dedication and she puts towards creating a brighter future for herself.” She’s became self-sufficient and we are so proud she represents the (our) program”
A success award of just $1,050 changed Brandie’s life. “I know that would be small to some people, but it was huge to me. It really gave me the opportunity to become a successful adult.” She explained, “I started out this program having nothing, not knowing what to do with my life, not having any family to help me and (Eckerd Connects) gave me everything. I now have a car, pay my own insurance and house payments. I am stable now because of this”
Through Eckerd Connects, Brandie was able to gain the guidance that she desperately desired, while learning the tools he needed to be successful in the workforce. Through our Success Awards program, she could access the needs that so many of us take for granted. And she knows she is not an isolated case, “There are a lot of people in these shoes. I hope that (success awards) continue to happen and I’m not the only one to experience this miracle because it changed my life.”
Help a young adult, like Brandie, by giving to our success awards today.Donate