Our graduates have wonderful stories to tell and we are proud to share some of them with you.
Following a period of unemployment, Joe struggled to regain his footing despite his return to work. He was employed, but was earning much less than at his previous employer and was struggling to maintain current expenses. Motivated to improve his financial situation, Joe had been enrolled in a Master’s Degree program, but could no longer afford the tuition costs and had placed his educational goals on hold. Transportation barriers made it difficult for Joe to obtain higher paying employment, but he worked with BCOC’s Employment Specialist to update his resume.
After intense job searching, Joe obtained a job that was close to home at a higher pay. During this time, Joe’s Coach placed him on the Wheelz to Work wait list, and in November 2021 Joe received a donated car. Joe is now earning a livable wage, has reliable transportation, and is looking forward to returning to school in the future to complete his educational goals.
A single mom, and recent graduate of the Redefining Independence, Safety, and Empowerment (RISE) program through A Woman’s Place, Kate reached out to BCOC for additional supports in her journey to increase her resources and independence. Kate received crucial supports with child care, car repairs, and employment services during this time through both BCOC and AWP.
Kate’s leadership potential began to shine, and in 2021 Kate was chosen to be a part of Women’s Way Change the Narrative Fellowship Program. The program sought to generate awareness of racial and gender inequities in economic opportunity and spur actions among the public and private sectors that improve economic security. In October of 2021, she was also a panelist for the webinar Closing the Gender Wealth Gap: Intersections of Intimate Partner Violence and Economic Security of Women. Kate is currently employed working full time at a livable wage. Kate is looking forward to planning a vacation for her and her son this summer.
A mom of three employed full time as an Alzheimer’s Specialist Coordinator, Katie relied on the support of a Section 8 Housing Voucher to make ends meet when her children were young. Motivated to increase her independence and not rely on assistance programs anymore, she began to plan for her future and sought support from BCOC in accomplishing this dream. Katie took advantage of every opportunity that she could, participating in Financial Literacy Workshops and enrolling in the Matched Savings Account Program to increase her assets.
Today Katie is financially stable, permanently housed, and working in a field she is passionate about. Eager to continue learning, Katie still participates in many workshops offered by BCOC. In 2021 Katie started her own small Home Health Aid business called “Katie Kares” which she hopes to expand in the future.
Working full-time as a Family Support Specialist for a local non-profit agency, but as the sole provider for her family including a child who required full time care, she was not able to sustain her household on her own. Motivated to increase her income she attended Penn State University to obtain her Bachelor’s in Psychology. Lauren completed scholarships and received tuition from BCOC and the VIA. She completed her bachelor’s degree in the summer of 2021 and received a promotion from her employer.
Now a Facilitator, Lauren earns a livable wage and receives SSI supports for her son. With a long-term goal to obtain her Master’s in Social Work and one day be a Licensed Certified Social Worker, Lauren is now attending Edinburgh College and living with family who are supportive of her educational goals and help care for her son.