Inspiration Corporation has always been committed to providing services to those in need throughout Chicago. For the first time this year, we are reaching a new vulnerable population on the far south side at Frank O. Lowden Homes and Trumbull Park Homes.
One person seizing the opportunities provided by this new partnership is Martha. Martha is a proud grandmother and aspiring professional who recently graduated from our Employment Preparation Training class. She dreams of combining her people skills and creativity in the visual arts by working in high-end interior design retail. Shortly before our first Employment Preparation Training class began at Lowden Homes, Martha saw a flyer about an open house orientation. At that orientation she met her Inspiration Corporation Trainer and Career Specialist and immediately felt encouraged by her presence. Martha describes her this way, “[she] has a lot of grace about herself, and that’s impressive. She treats you with respect.”
Inspiration Corporation’s Employment Services program has been offered to homeless and low-income Chicagoans living on the streets, in emergency shelters, or in transitional housing for many years. Since 1994, our program has helped 1,602 individuals gain employment. Through our new partnership with Beacon Therapeutic, the program will be offered for the first time exclusively to public housing residents in extremely close proximity to their homes, allowing them immediate access to our employment preparation training class, career counseling, case management, and other supportive services.
During the program Martha never missed a day, was always on time, and participated fully, even asking for extra lessons and instruction on writing and grammar. Today she finds herself, “More motivated than ever to find suitable employment.” The crucial self–esteem building element of the program also made a huge impression on Martha, who now insists; “I’m not settling.”
While searching for immediate employment in the retail sector with her case manager, Martha is also making plans for the future. She is looking forward to starting a new entrepreneurship class, planning on enrolling in McCormick College to earn her Associates Degree in business, and hopes to one day put her creative talents to use by starting a business in home organization and personal shopping. She has already printed business cards and designed a marketing plan with her instructor’s assistance.
When asked about her goals, Martha answers with wisdom, strength and optimism, “I love empowering myself and women. That’s my goal.” Our goal is to be able to continue to offer this life-changing program in an area of the city that is often overlooked. We believe that people like Martha deserve the hand up our programs provide, no matter where they live.