Phyllis is a dedicated graduate of our 4-week Employment Preparation Training program, and she has been with Inspiration Corporation since May of 2014. A life-long Chicagoan and the youngest of 9 children, Phyllis spent most of her life on the West Side until the need for housing brought her to a women’s shelter in Uptown, where she learned about our organization. Having just transitioned into an single room occupancy (SRO) unit in the neighborhood, her case manager at Inspiration Corporation helped her find everything she needed for her place through Benevolent, a funding resource for those in need.

After gaining more stability with her housing situation, Phyllis approached hPhyllis 2er case manager about pursuing an education at Computer Systems Institute. Having received assistance enrolling in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and with filling out college applications, she earned full scholarships to study Medical Assisting. In the process of completing her coursework, Phyllis also received certificates in phlebotomy and electrocardiogram (EKG), became a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), and was consistently on the dean’s list before graduating in December of 2015. If that wasn’t enough to be proud of, Phyllis started an externship with Northwestern on January 14 and currently volunteers at Weiss Hospital.

While Phyllis appreciates that the SRO is a big step up from a shelter, she has no intentions of making it a permanent solution. She says, “God put me here to get myself straight. Once I’m on my feet, then I can move on and let the next person do what they need to do.” To achieve her goal of moving into an apartment with her own kitchen and bathroom before October 2016 (her two year anniversary in the SRO), her plan is to have a stable job in Medical Assisting, supplemented by a part-time security position. “There’s things I want out of life,” she says. “I want to get a job and get on my feet so I can start doing things for myself.” After gaining a few years of experience in medical assisting, she has a long term goal of pursuing a career as an anesthesiologist.

So far it seems like her strategic plan toward a more stable life is paying off. While she says that all of her success feels “wonderful,” there seems to be some regret behind the sentiment. “I’m 53,” she says.  “It’s different because it’s like I’ve waited all this time. I could have done this when I was younger, and then I think now that maybe it wasn’t my time. Maybe I wouldn’t have gone through with it.”

While Phyllis appreciates the large scale support and insight that helped her find her path, she says that even having assistance with day to day resources such as bus passes and meals have gone a long way to help her on her journey. “I think if I hadn’t come to Inspiration, I wouldn’t have gone this far.”

In every sense, Phyllis’ accomplishments embody the core of Inspiration Corporation’s mission to help people find their way to a self-sufficient life. Not only is she achieving her goals one step at a time while looking toward the future, Phyllis is working to be in a position to help others. Thankful for the opportunities she’s been given in her time at Inspiration Corporation, she wants to be a resource for others who have gone through similar life experiences. “When I get on my feet, I’m coming back here to give.”