Nonprofit helps single moms prepare for employment

Sep 14 2012 - 5:17pm

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JANAE FRANCIS/Standard-Examiner
Chris Hayes (left), of Morgan, Shanel Hicks, of Ogden, and DeOnna Braunberger, of Ogden, study a personal responsibility worksheet during a People Helping People workshop for single mothers recently at the Prosperity Center in Ogden.
JANAE FRANCIS/Standard-Examiner
Saron Rosinski and Laura Pont-Fritz, both of Ogden, work through a personal responsibility discussion together during a  People Helping People workshop for single mothers recently at the Prosperity Center in Ogden.
JANAE FRANCIS/Standard-Examiner
Chris Hayes (left), of Morgan, Shanel Hicks, of Ogden, and DeOnna Braunberger, of Ogden, study a personal responsibility worksheet during a People Helping People workshop for single mothers recently at the Prosperity Center in Ogden.
JANAE FRANCIS/Standard-Examiner
Saron Rosinski and Laura Pont-Fritz, both of Ogden, work through a personal responsibility discussion together during a  People Helping People workshop for single mothers recently at the Prosperity Center in Ogden.

OGDEN -- "There are so many things that are easy for us to get down on ourselves about," said instructor Marva Sadler in a recent People Helping People workshop.

"We need to be replacing the negative with the positive, making those small, little changes."

Sadler, who is the People Helping People program manager for Weber and Utah counties, spoke before an audience of 15 single mothers who want to improve their employment opportunities by participating in this free program.

People Helping People is a proven nonprofit program out of Salt Lake City that has been helping single mothers find stable employment now for nearly 20 years. The program is new to Ogden.

Cottages of Hope is excited to now partner with the program to make it available in the Top of Utah at its facility, located at 2724 Washington Blvd.

Workshops are held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. Participants may begin attending at any time.

"We are finding more and more that the training for employment needs to be specific," said Chris Swaner, co-executive director at Cottages of Hope.

He said finding the People Helping People program and bringing it to Ogden has created a way for Cottages of Hope to reach out to a population that is most in need of such help.

"We really emphasize that change is a process that takes place over time," Sadler said in an interview about the program. "It's one step at a time."

Sadler said she's often working with a population that's been rewarded for telling overwhelming stories about their lives when applying for assistance.

Now, the women have to find ways to enter the workplace with the confidence they need to earn wages realistic enough to allow them to support themselves and their families without relying on government programs.

"We don't judge. We don't chastise. We just value them," Sadler said of the women she serves.

Since Cottages of Hope started offering the workshops, she said 35 women have attended at least one workshop.

"Our goal for this year is 50 educational clients," she said, noting that the program is well on its way to passing that goal.

Sadler said her program offers women a chance to meet with human resource managers who come from companies that can offer them benefits and entry-level positions with the chance to move up.

A program workbook is designed to help the women identify their skills and strengths so they can translate these ideas onto resumes.

Interview preparation and mock interviews also are central to the program.

"If you know what the employers want, you can give it to them," Sadler said.

The partnership with Cottages of Hope, she said, allows her to refer People Helping People participants to programs offered there as well as to other programs that partner with the facility.

"We see it as a synergistic relationship," Sadler said.

"We hope to use our partners so we can meet the needs of the women who participate," Swaner said.

Sadler recently told those in attendance to weigh their choices carefully.

"When you make a choice, you also choose what's at the other end," she said. "It's like two ends of a barbell. You get both ends."

Sadler said she is working on a women's closet to be housed at United Way of Northern Utah that will hold donated business attire for the women in the program. She's hoping to also recruit a number of volunteer mentors, women who have become successes in their employment, who will serve as role models for the women in the program.

For more information about the program, call Cottages of Hope at 801-393-4011.

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