Sahara, who works with Families Forward in South Portland has been moving up the healthcare career ladder over the last few years. She had worked as a medical assistant and graduated from Central Maine Community College’s (CMCC) nursing program in May. While at CMCC, Sahara was enrolled in the Parents as Scholars (PaS) program which allowed her the time she needed for her studies and caring for her child who has disabilities. This month she passed her licensing exam. Her next step is to apply to the bachelor’s degree in nursing program at Southern Maine University and obtain a nursing position at Maine Medical Center.
Jetta is a single parent originally from Democratic Republic of Congo. She has been working with staff in South Portland for over two years. Jetta recently graduated from the Childcare Development Lab through Coastal Enterprises and the Greater Portland Workforce Initiative. The course provides training in opening and managing a childcare business. While attending the course, Jetta has also been onsite in South Portland working with an instructor from our partner, Scarborough Adult Education to complete her High School Equivalency Test (HiSET). When Jetta is ready, staff will refer her for assistance with developing her business plan and launching her childcare business.
Kate and her partner Gary have four children under the age of eight. Gary has worked seasonal jobs at Sunday River and other local businesses. He told South Paris staff that he wanted to find a “real career” instead of seasonal work so he could support his family. Gary has considered getting his Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), driving heavy equipment, or working in a manufacturing environment. Based on his interests, staff arranged interviews for Gary with KBS Homes in South Paris and with Grover Precision in Oxford. Gary accepted a position as a machinist making tubing and cannulated bar for medical, aerospace and defense industries. Kate has now accepted a part-time seasonal job testing water samples at area lakes. Kate plans to go back to school for a healthcare related career once their children are all in school. She told staff that she is excited to be able to take her kids along with her to work where they are learning more about the environment and their family is on the path to self-sufficiency.
Maggie struggled with addiction for many years which affected her ability to keep a job and led to her child being removed from her custody. This month Maggie achieved a year of sobriety and regained custody of her child. She told staff in Sanford that she always wanted to go to school but her substance use disorder held her back. With support from staff, Maggie enrolled at York County Community College, and she will be starting courses in Forensic Social Work this summer. She is looking for an apartment for her family and a part-time job so she can buy a car. Maggie told staff that she is committed to her recovery, and she is attending daily Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings.
After studying liberal arts for several years, Jennifer recently contacted staff in Skowhegan to announce that she had been accepted to the nursing program at Central Maine Community College for the fall semester. Staff are helping her to enroll in the Parents as Scholars (Pas) program and aiding her with other supports so she will be ready to start school. Jennifer also reported that she started employment as a phlebotomist at Wentworth Douglas Hospital which she plans to continue while attending school.
Ashley has struggled with mental health and substance use disorder. Earlier this year, staff in Rockland encouraged her to enter a sober living program where she could attend regular counseling and engage in recovery supports. This month, Ashley expressed that her “life is restored” and she is committed to her recovery and moving forward. Staff helped her to enroll in preparation classes to complete her HiSET (High School Equivalency Test) and pursue a certification to become an addiction recovery coach. Staff are currently helping her with getting technology to help with classes and arranging childcare so she can focus on her studies.
When he enrolled in Rockland, Ken told staff that he had struggled to find a job that he cared about and could support his family. He had tried various occupations and found that he was passionate about cooking. Staff recently helped John secure a position as the head chef for a local retirement community where his grandmother is a resident. He reported that he is happy with his new job, and he likes making a difference in the lives of the retirees.
At her intake last spring, Penny shared that she struggled with mental health conditions which had held her back from her desired career in healthcare. Staff helped her to find counseling, and after a few months she reported that she had learned coping strategies to better manage her anxiety. When she was ready, staff helped her enroll in training to become a nursing assistant and she completed the course with a 98%. The experience motivated Penny to complete certifications for residential medication aide, and personal support specialist. Penny was then hired at an area residential facility. During her recent appointment, Penny thanked Machias staff for helping her get the training she needed and aid with mileage, scrubs, and childcare.
Rose arrived at Families Forward in Lewiston on a Friday this month and informed staff that she no longer had housing. Six months pregnant with a toddler and no family in Maine, she had been staying with an acquaintance, but was asked to leave. Staff at once began making calls and secured a spot at a local shelter, but it was not available until Monday. Families Forward staff across the state began to reach out to local resources to secure housing for the weekend. As a final effort, Lewiston staff posted the circumstances on social media, and they were contacted immediately by a community member who owns a grocery store. They offered a cash donation and free groceries to the family. The donation covered two nights at a hotel and staff found a church which donated for the third night. On Monday, Rose and her child made it safely to the shelter. Rose told staff that she was overwhelmed with joy and gratefulness for the support she received from staff and the community.
Maria has been a participant in Fort Kent since May 2019 when her family moved to Maine from another state. She had difficulty keeping employment due to caring for her mother and her children who experience disabilities. In May, staff encouraged Maria to apply for employment with ALPHA ONE, which would pay her as a care attendant for her mother. Maria applied to ALPHA ONE, and she was hired 40-hours a week at $20.00 an hour. Maria told staff that she is excited as this employment allows her the flexibility that she needs to care for her entire family.