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Success stories

Cynthia
Cynthia, a single mother of four children ranging in age from 8 to 15, begins her day at 5:00 a.m. She coordinates outfits, packs lunches, and prepares the night’s dinner.

It is a meal she won’t be able to serve until after 7:00 p.m., when she ends her day working as a sales agent for a local auto insurance company.  But she is grateful to have a home, a meal, and the job to pay for all of it.

“Everything I do is for my family,” she says. “Providing for them is what keeps me going.”

Less than a year ago, she was jobless, depressed, and behind on all of her bills. With the threat of eviction looming, even an everyday necessity like a bed seemed out of reach.

Then Cynthia heard about E&ES’ career services at the City of Chicago’s Trina Davila Community Service Center. Not only did the center give her promise of change, it provided her with resources to execute her plan.

“I’m so happy,” she explains. “If it weren’t for them, I would have no home and no job.”

Now Cynthia has both and she is even learning to save a portion of her paycheck each month.

While the troubled economy made this past Christmas particularly challenging for many, the center gave the family a reason to celebrate.  E&ES Employment & Income Specialist Amelia Alvarez nominated Cynthia for Chicago Gives, a donation program run by City of Chicago employees. The family received almost everything on their wish list, including two new beds.

Cynthia never anticipated the help she would receive from the city—she wasn’t even sure what to expect when she first visited the center—but she didn’t have time to waste pondering her next step. She had just been laid off from her position as an Executive Assistant and her current job search wasn’t yielding any prospects. As the sole source of income for her family, she was determined to get back on track.

She first met City of Chicago Case Manager Hugo Miranda, who was impressed with his new client’s dedication.

“The program is only as good as the person. And Cynthia really made it work for her by never giving up,” he says.


Cynthia was clear in what she needed: a good job, and fast. So Hugo referred her to E&ES’ Amelia, the counselor who would later nominate Cynthia for the Chicago Gives program.

“Amelia really helped me out,” says Cynthia. “Her services were a huge part of [my experience at] Trina Davila.”

Amelia first asked Cynthia about her employment history and preferred job type, and then provided her with information on the increasingly competitive labor market.

Cynthia selected the administrative field because of her previous work experience and talent for organization. To prepare her client, Amelia helped revamp her résumé and polish her interview skills.

“We work to guide and counsel clients to bring out the best in them,” Amelia explains. “It’s important to show people that we have compassion and to let them know that they can call on us at any time.”

This, combined with Amelia’s access to hiring employers, gave Cynthia the confidence to get the job she wanted.

“It’s a lot easier when E&ES sends you. Employers know you’re a good candidate and are more likely to hire you,” she explains.

Soon Cynthia interviewed with a local insurance company. They liked her so much that they hired her for a better-paying position in sales.

Now a licensed sales agent for the company, Cynthia doesn’t forget the help she received at the center.  

“I love those people [at Trina Davila],” she says.


The entire staff certainly notices a difference in Cynthia.  

“They say, ‘You look so much better!’” Cynthia says, concluding, “When you feel good, you look good.”
 

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