Raul’s Story | Reunited at Last 

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Raul came to the US in June of 2016. He was born in Puerto Rico and has lived in Cuba and most recently in Venezuela. As the situation in Venezuela began to worsen, Raul and his family made the decision for him to move to the US to look for work, leaving his wife and 12-year-old son behind.

Raul arrived very excited about the opportunities that awaited him in the US. At 65 years old, he was looking for part-time employment to supplement his Social Security.

The road to employment was difficult and that is when we first met Raul. Although Raul was a US citizen, bi-lingual, and held a Bachelor’s Degree, he found it nearly impossible to find employment at his age.

At each visit, Jeff – Raul’s Christian HELP Care Manager – prayed for strength and courage for Raul to make it one more day. In December, Jeff provided Raul a flyer promoting the AARP Foundation Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). This program works to provide training for unemployed workers over 55 to re-enter the workforce. Raul visited and interviewed with the local office and they approved his admittance.

Raul is currently working at Salvation Army near his home and has saved enough money to bring Raul Jr. over from Venezuela. Raul Jr. has been in the US a month and is slowly gaining weight. Because of the food shortage in Venezuela, the boy was having difficulty gaining weight and focusing in school. Today, Raul Jr. is getting plenty of food, thanks to the Christian HELP pantry made possible with funding from the Orlando Sentinel Family Fund a McCormick Foundation Fund.  

We are now praying that Raul’s wife will be able to join the family in the next few months!

Raul’s Story | Reunited At Last

From Rollins to Homeless

*Alice (not her real name) graduated from Rollins College and successfully held down a job and ran her own business for many years.  Alice was also bipolar and as time went by, found it difficult to navigate a successful career and side business. She eventually found herself homeless and without insurance. That is when we met her.

 

Alice walked into the offices of Christian HELP for the first time last November. Her hands were jittery, her eyes darted back and forth and it became apparent to her Care Manager that Alice would need more than her resume reviewed and new clothes to land a job.

 

Since losing her insurance, Alice was not able to get the proper medical treatment she needed.  Our Care Manager referred her to one of our community partners to address this issue. Two weeks later Alice walked back into our office a completely different person.  She was not only able to get back on her medication but through our collaborative partners, she was able to get a haircut and appropriate clothing for a job interview. She looked fantastic and we were thrilled!

 

Alice continued to meet with her Christian HELP Care Manager for the next three months and the transformation she experienced was nothing shy of a miracle.  Alice not only physically began to transform, but her heart began to grow in the love and grace as she willing heard of the love of Jesus Christ. 

 

Alice is now living with a friend and contributing to the household by supplying the food she receives from Christian HELP’s Food Pantry.  She also found a job working for the Department of Economics at a local college!

What Do You Do When You Are Laid Off?

What do you do when you are laid off?

I shared the answer to that question to a group of 17 adults who had just found out 15-minutes before they met me that their company was closing and their positions discontinued.

The room was full of emotion; some tears, blank stares of shock, faces of worry, and even some angry expressions. Their employer had asked me to come and share hope with their employees, as well as practical solutions, because they cared about them and felt so bad about laying them off.

I was grateful for this privilege and honored that they would ask me. I knew the message I brought from Christian HELP would be that of hope, as well as helpful.

I shared about our services; about our resume reviewing, cover letter coaching, mock interviewing, free groceries and more. I told them about how we would help them process their emotions and help them find a way up and out of their despair. Many were entry-level workers, and some had positions in sales and others in mid-level management.  I assured them we could help each of them and that we customize our approach to their need. Many commented they couldn’t believe our services were free.

We also talked about good decision making and how to live until a living could be found and how to move forward and the importance of a good attitude and a strong sense of self in the process.

I invited them to drop by the office of Christian HELP or make an appt., and reassured them that we were there for them. Christians helping all people.

By the time I left, they were asking questions, making jokes and smiling. I felt blessed to be your ambassador that day

Vickie Martin, Executive Director – Christian HELP

Tough Love | Breaking Down Barriers ​

February is that great time of year when there is so much extra talk about love and so it only seems fitting to share with you this month a story about love, but not the kind you may expect.

The work of the Care Managers at Christian HELP often involves tough love. It can be hard to tell someone about the barriers they have in their life to employment and what it will take to overcome them. It is hard to hold someone to a plan and require participation on their part, but that is what Care Managers do every day at Christian HELP. Accountability for the client is not always welcome, but it is actually one of the ways we love job seekers.

Case and point – a Care Manager visits with an unemployed, middle-age woman recently and speaks sincerely and truthfully with her about her efforts in seeking a job. The conversation is not appreciated and the client gets up and walks out. These are difficult moments in the everyday work of helping people, but there is more to the story…

Some time later, that same Care Manager comes face-to-face with that same client at one of our Job Fairs. And to our surprise, the client approaches the Care Manager, offers up a hug and apologizes. She asks for forgiveness for her behavior and goes on to share how she thought about what the Care Manager said and put it into practice. Upon doing so, she got a part-time job and was now at the job fair looking for another one. She attributed this as possible because of what the Care Manager had shared with her before. Needless to say, the Care Manager was thrilled at the outcome of this story. They want people to find employment – that’s the simple goal, but it can be hard to help, but when it works out – it’s all worth it.

Bonnie: At Just the Right Time

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Christmas is coming and so is the Christmas toy store through Christian HELP. Here is one client’s experience from last year.

Bonnie (not her real name) arrived for her scheduled appointment time to shop for her children. She was an unemployed mom partnering with Christian HELP to find work and this was the day that was set for her to shop in the “mock store” we had set up. Full of decorations, “Elf” shopping assistants, Christmas music and cookies, as well as an abundance of toys… we were ready for her. This is a day we love. Job seekers arrive, not knowing what to expect. All they know is they’ve been invited to let us provide Christmas for their children as they go through the struggle of unemployment or underemployment.

Most of our meetings with Bonnie have been in the office and have surrounded the topic of her job search and equipping her accordingly, but not today. Today, is a gift to her. Christmas is coming and we want her to enjoy the experience of shopping for her son.

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Bonnie is warmly greeted and feels no shame or condemnation or labels. She is another mom shopping for her child at Christmas time, if only for a couple hours. She is told about the love of Jesus, the value He sees in her and how He is the ultimate gift. She begins to shop at the first table she sees, picking up this and that and a few other trinkets for her son. She is happy and grateful and begins to leave until someone stops her and whispers, “You’re not done. There’s more”. She is taken to another area where she sees rows and rows of toys for her choosing. Tears run down her face and she is overwhelmed. She shops, her arms laden with gifts for her son.

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     When you give to Christian HELP in the month of December, this is what your money supports. You are providing employment assistance, food, Christmas gifts, hope, encouragement and incredible dignity to hundreds of “Bonnie’s” every month. Would you help us help others and make Christmas special for their families during this Season of Giving?

Thank you and may God bless you for giving to help others.

To give please go to www.christianhelp.org/christmas 

A Day in the Life of Christian HELP

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9:30am

The doors to Christian HELP are open. The line outside has been forming since 9:15am.  Men, women and children fill the waiting room. The atmosphere is one of excitement and anticipation.
The phone rings, it is a client from the week before telling us she just found a job thanks to the job search coaching and leads she received at Christian HELP.  The bell is rung and the entire staff joins in the celebration that one more life is being transformed.
Ann, one of our Care Managers, will be busy all day, counseling, praying and providing support to job seekers.   Clients will receive one-on-one attention, as well enough food to feed their families.

2:30pm

The day isn’t over for Ann. She starts making calls to check in on clients from the previous week.  She celebrates with the ones who have found a job and provides hope and sets follow up appointments for those who are still looking.

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5:00pm

It’s time to call it a day! The food pantry is cleaned and ready to receive the follow morning’s shipment of milk, eggs, meat, etc. The day has ended much like the 8,760 previous days that Christian HELP has served the community.  People being served, lives being changed.

Will You Join Us?

Will you support the work to help others get back to work? Right now we are in our biggest fundraising campaign of the year, Harvest of Hope. All donations received by November 15th for our Campaign will be doubled. Will you help us help twice as many people have their lives changed? Send your donation now and thank you in advance for helping to transform lives – right here in Central Florida.

 

Susan’s Letter

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     I have wanted to write you in recent weeks to tell of my success securing a position! While the first several weeks were very challenging, I stayed the course. Providing therapy to children with autism and special needs sustained me.

     I want to tell you they have named me as Supervisor of the program which provides a specific therapy for children with autism. I can’t thank you enough for your Christian HELP! Literally and metaphorically.  You were the cup of water I needed in the desert. I am certain you continue to provide that help, direction, compassion and prayer to all.
Blessings,
Susan

When You Want to Propose But…

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     When he came to us in June, Adam* was out of full-time work for four years. He was picking up a few consulting jobs but it was not the same as full-time employment. Well educated and experience in IT, Adam was now depressed, lacking self-confidence and worn out from trying. For three years, he wanted to propose marriage to his girlfriend, but without a job, he wouldn’t do it. Through our services, Adam had access to open positions, the training he needed to find work and the transforming support of staff and volunteers who believed in him. By mid-August, he was working full time.
     Last night I was offered the position as an IT Support Technician and I gracefully accepted it. I am so happy I’m finally going back to work!!! I want to Thank God for this Blessing!!! because without him this would have never happened and I never would have found your organization. You showed me the proper way to get a job and provided encouragement, prayer and support, instilling the confidence I needed to get this position. You believed in me when I had nearly given up on myself.

 

*Name has been changed

When All is Lost, Who Stands with YOU?

Yvonne’s Story 

thumbnail“I don’t think I belong here,” said Yvonne with tears in her eyes.    It was her first day at Christian HELP’s CFJI job training course.

“I feel very uncomfortable and want to leave.”

Yvonne had been unemployed for many years and felt unsure of herself and her ability to be of value to anyone.  Many times during the seven-day CFJI course, she wanted to quit. When the day arrived for the participants to practice their interview skills, Yvonne was more unsure of herself than ever before.

One of our trainers noticed her anxiety and decided right then and there to pray. Yvonne made the decision to push forward and to finish the class.  And boy, are we happy that she did!
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The last day of the class Yvonne seemed like a new person. Even her family noticed a changed!  She then attended our CFEC Job Fair and used the skills she learned in class to network, something she never would have had the confidence to do before!

We are happy to announce Yvonne applied for a job at our Job Fair and was offered a position!

Won’t you JOIN US as we work to provide Central Floridians with Hope Encouragement Love and Prayer!  Visit us at HERE to find out more about Christian HELP and how you can partner with us!