Christine knows the value of being heard. That’s why she was drawn to her career path in social work. “I am always willing to have an open mind and hear people,” she states, recalling how helpful it was to have people there for her when she was struggling.
Forward Service Corporation put Christina on her path to help others when she couldn’t find help anywhere else.
Making the Call
“When I started the program, I was struggling and didn’t have support,” Christina shares. She was attending college for social work, but it wasn’t easy being a single parent. In fact, she was nearly homeless when she reached out. Christina didn’t know exactly what resources were available, but she did know two things: that she couldn’t give up on her dream and “that FSC provides great services.”
“I went from almost being homeless to being able to maintain housing,” says Christina. She quickly got housing help from Emergency Assistance. Then she enrolled in Wisconsin Works (W-2) to support her family while exploring careers and joined the FoodShare Employment and Training program (FSET) to engage with a full spectrum of employment services.
“I was able to do schooling and was encouraged to do my best even when I was down,” Christina states, noting that her case worker Ashley was a tremendous help to her. She gives credit to everyone on the team, however, for giving her the strength to continue. “Anytime I was struggling and felt everything was falling apart, workers in the program were able to provide the support and encouragement to keep going.”
Side-by-side with her FSC team, Christina explored her career options, made detailed plans for growth, and found the resources she needed to get “into a better situation.” They even incorporated school into her activities, meaning that she earned a paycheck from W-2 while staying track to graduate. She spoke with her Job Developers, Shirley and Kim, to secure job leads and grow her employment network. Every step of her journey was covered, from taking courses to prepare for the workforce to getting gas vouchers that allowed her to attend interviews – and, before long, to cover the commute to work.
“I felt happy that I was able to obtain employment that is in my career field and be able to maintain my employment,” says Christina. She started her position as a Child Advocate at Friendship House last Fall, where she provides care and education to troubled adolescent boys. She’s still working with our team to cover herself as she steps toward graduation. “I am thankful that the hours work with childcare, and I can continue to build skills doing what I enjoy and to work towards my degree.”
Christina is on track to graduate with her bachelor’s degree this Spring. She hopes to become a social worker and plans to save for a house. Life has gotten more confusing and distracting for Christina since COVID, but with the help of her FSC team, she knows she’ll be able to figure it out. “My advice for success is to do what you need to do first and don’t get easily distracted by socializing with friends,” she says. “W-2 is here to help when you are having a hard time.”