Monday, November 5, 2012

Changing The Odds

October 20, 2012 ~ I am involved in a Women's Network committee called Changing The Odds. This committee was created 15 years ago to help women get off welfare and back into the workforce. During Women's Network's strategic planning this committee was almost cut but thank goodness for the dedication, passion and support of awesome committee members we were able to turn this committee into one of the best committees in Women's Network! I had the pleasure of serving as the co-chair from 2008-2010 and have remained active on it because it makes your heart happy!

This committee helps women re-enter the workforce when they may have been incarcerated, in a drug/alcohol treatment center, in a shelter or simply stayed home to raise a family for an extended time. Things have changed a lot over the past several years as I remember getting my first "real" job at Footlocker I filled out a short application, had a quick face-to-face interview that lasted a whole 3 minutes, shook his hand and started the next Monday. Now days you fill out an application, submit your resume, give permission to a background check and drug test and wait for up to 3 interviews before being hired. Just think about it if you had a felony charge.

The women of this committee are truly amazing. They are all successful business women that may not have had a great start but they had support. They had one person that believed in them and that's all it took. So during the 2 free seminars that the Changing The Odds committee offers we all put our lives to the side to focus on making these women see that we believe in them. It truly is inspiring, empowering and genuine watching our participants engaging in this seminar while they forget about where they currently are and envision where they will be with the tools and resources we give them to achieve their goals.

The best part of this day.... I happen to set at a table of 6 other women. 3 of those women had been incarcerated before and were struggling with getting a job because with a felony on their record they couldn't even get an interview. You know, in life we have all done something bad but we didn't get caught and learned the right way before putting ourselves in that position again. These women did their time and now are trying to get back into the real world to become productive citizens. (It's sad because we have people in our communities that are able to work yet just simply rather be on the "system" then to try hard to achieve success on their own) We talked during lunch and I wanted to learn from them because of another organization I am involved in {(BCOTN - Boone County Offenders Transition Network) and they primarily deal with men and we need to get women involved too.} At the end of the day those 3 women came over to me and gave me a big hug and thanked us for putting this seminar on for them as they learned a lot and can't wait to use this information towards their new life. Awesome day!

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