Kathy Confer, KRA Career Agent, reports, “When Helen De’Atley came to the VIEW [Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare] program here in Norfolk, she was a bit timid and unsure of how her skills and abilities fit with today’s job market. She had worked as a seamstress but, due to several medical crises, had not worked for quite awhile. As a single mother of a teenage daughter, Helen was anxious to get back to work, so she enrolled in our JRA [Job Readiness Academy] program, and we worked to develop an IEP [Individual Employment Plan] that would, step-by-step, get her back on the road to self sufficiency.” While Helen worked to complete her JRA courses, Confer began researching volunteer opportunities that could enhance her workplace-readiness skills, and add more recent experience to her resume.
In October 2011, Helen graduated from the JRA, and 2 months later began volunteering at the Bayview Baptist Church in the childcare center of the Church school. Confer commented, “I was able to arrange the opportunity for Helen. When I discovered that the Church was close to her home, and that her daughter had attended school there when she was younger, it seemed like a good fit.” At the Church, Helen found another mentor in Ms. Donna, a certified personal coach and Director of the Bayview Christian School. Along with Confer, Helen credits Ms. Donna with helping her discover, at 57 years of age, “who” she wanted to become…what road she would chose to travel on the rest of her life’s journey.
Confer reported, “Ms. Donna commented to me that Helen came to work each day with such a positive attitude, and became so valuable to them, that she could not imagine her leaving and offered her a job! So, on February 2, Helen was hired as an Assistant Teacher, continuing to work in the childcare center, and putting her wonderful organizational skills to good use. This has really boosted Helen’s self confidence, and I am so excited about the possibilities ahead of her. I expect great things for her.”