In 2020 - together, with your support - we helped over 3,000 individuals make significant strides along their personal pathways to independence and employment. We wanted to share again, just a few of those stories.
Alex has participated in Humanim’s TAY (Transition Aged Youth) program for 3 years, and recently shared about his experience in the program. “When I first got into Humanim’s TAY program I was a mess. I was doing all sorts of destructive behaviors, I didn’t know how to cope with my emotions, and I didn’t know how to be independent. Moving out of my parent’s house at 18 was very hard for me.”
Alex began the TAY program and was able to gain support from case managers and counselors, who helped him gain independence. He says, “Now I can do almost everything by myself. I learned how to grocery shop, how to ride the bus, how to pay bills, how to make a checking account, how to make my own doctor’s appointments, all sorts of important things. They helped me get a stable job, and then I went out on my own and got a new job all by myself. I can now get to and from work every day. I can take college classes. I just got certified to be a CNA, which I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’m about to go to driving school. I would have never imagined being in the place I am today, 3 years ago. They even helped me get a stable therapist and psychiatrist, and when my therapist left, I went and searched for a new one all on my own. I am so grateful and lucky to be in Humanim’s TAY program. Now I can strive for the future I want. It taught me that I can be a successful young adult in this world, and I can cope with anything life throws at me. I can’t wait to see what the future brings.”
Humanim’s Transition Aged Youth Program is a specialized program designed for young-adults (18-25) who are struggling with mental illness. The program provides housing and specialized supports to help the young adult transition from their parent’s home, foster care, or a residential treatment center into the community. The program emphasizes building self-reliance, problem-solving skills, educational and vocational development.
David interned with City Seeds through Humanim’s Start on Success program in the summer of 2019. City Seeds’ Director of Operations says that David was quiet when he first started, but in the kitchen, he blossomed – taking initiative to lead other interns, making lunch for the entire staff, and even coming in on his day off to be in the space where he felt safe. Outside of the internship, David had been struggling to find stability. After losing both of his parents at the age of 7, David was adopted into a family, but faced many challenges, including spending several years in a group home.
At the start of the SOS internship, Humanim’s Workforce Development team had placed David at another initial job site. In search of a more conscientious employer to accommodate for additional supports in the workplace, he was placed at City Seeds. Upon completion of the internship, City Seeds accepted David back into a part-time position, hiring him as a Prep Cook and adapting the usual preparation work hours to accommodate David’s class schedule. “City Seeds offers help – when you ask, they can teach you a lot, which can go a long way. If I say I need help with finding a recipe, they’ll show me and help me out. [City Seeds] made me aim to work harder at what I do, even if sometimes I fall behind, I try to do things right. It made me a harder worker.”
Recognizing what an amazing opportunity David had found, he asked City Seeds’ leadership to consider hiring a friend of his, John, who he had previously lived with in a group home. From the interview, John immediately found his place in City Seeds as a Porter. John enjoys working at City Seeds because of the calm, respectful work environment. After only one month of employment at City Seeds, John says, “we’re a family; we look out for each other.”
Humanim’s social enterprise division not only creates job opportunities for those who face challenges to employment, but it provides the stability and training needed for individuals to advance in their careers and land other jobs. Each of our social impact businesses operate within an ecosystem of corporate, government and community partners that strengthen the local economy, while creating opportunities for small, minority businesses and community members, through workforce training and job creation.
Kieshawn is a recent graduate of Humanim’s Administrative Assistant Training Program, which took place in-person and virtually. She first heard of the program through her daughter who was a graduate of the 2016 cohort. She shared, “I decided to attend Humanim’s Administrative Assistant Training because I saw what a difference it made for my daughter, who was a former student. She spoke so highly of the class and staff. After graduating from Humanim’s training, she became more outgoing and confident. She is now in her second year of Nursing School. I am so proud of her and I wanted to have that same pride for myself.”
In the program, Kieshawn was able to grow in self-confidence and soft skills, as well as public speaking. Reflecting on the program, Kieshawn shares, “I still find it amazing how this training has impacted not only my life, but my family’s life. I have blossomed into a confident woman with drive, who knows where she wants to go in life, not just in a career, and the path I need to take to get there. My family has noticed the change, and to hear them tell me that I make them proud, is the best feeling I could ever ask for. Humanim supplied me with the tools to achieve that.”
At first, Kieshawn was apprehensive about starting the class during COVID-19, as she and a family member have health issues. However, she saw the precautions in place, as well as the cleanliness of the building when in-person, and decided that she would still benefit from the training despite some of the limitations.
“I would definitely recommend others to attend the training. Together, with the staff at Humanim and the anchors, this training is a life changer! And I am very thankful for the experience.”
Humanim’s career training programs provide job seekers with the skills and knowledge required for in-demand careers. Each program is custom designed to meet the needs of employers and give job seekers a competitive edge. Trainees participate in comprehensive job skills training, where they are eligible to receive nationally recognized certification. At the completion of training, graduates receive job placement support, many of whom are placed in successful careers within our network of competitive employers.
April has been a part of Humanim’s Developmental Disability Day Program for nearly 8 years after being referred to our programs through Maryland's Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA). After expressing interest in employment in August 2019, she began her employment journey with Humanim’s Job Development program. Part of this process included being paired with an Employment Consultant, Randy, who helped her develop her career skills and guide the job search.
While April was quiet at times and faced behavioral challenges, her enthusiasm for work helped her shine in mock interviews. At first, she was nervous when interviewing with potential employers, but after talking with her Employment Consultant, she was able to work through her doubt and finish her interviews. April's determination paid off, and she was offered part-time employment as a custodian with the Baltimore City Enoch Pratt Free Library. Upon receiving the job offer, she was so excited that she couldn’t wait to share the news with everyone.
At the beginning of the year, April completed her first month of employment at the library, where she works to keep a clean and tidy space for the community. Her enthusiasm for employment paired with her strong advocating skills have helped make her employment journey a success. Since working with Humanim's job development program and obtaining employment, she has been able to overcome many of her challenges, while gaining more self-confidence. April says she “enjoys her coworkers and feels independent," and enjoys having more financial freedom.
Humanim’s Developmental Disability employment services focus on matching an individual’s unique interests and skills to the hiring needs of employers. Once employed, our retention specialists continue to work with individuals and employers to ensure job success, through case management, job coaching, advocacy, and other job supports.
Every one of these success stories was made possible by you. Without your partnership, we could not do the work that we do.
Please consider supporting Humanim this coming year by making a donation in 2020. Humanim is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your gift this year ensures we will continue to be able to build pathways toward economic equity, opportunity, and independence for people like Alex, David, Kieshawn, and April.
We truly thank you for your partnership in 2020 in making each of these stories possible. And we look forward to working together in the year ahead.