Working for Hope
Community of Hope's in-house workforce development program allows clients to work with employment specialists who help them with resumes, job leads and interview techniques.
A soft-skills development program focused on customer service is available to COH clients. Here, they learn not just how to get a job, but how to keep one. Topics include how to accept feedback from supervisors, avoiding co-worker conflicts, and how to deal with difficult customers, valuable skills, indeed, for nearly every working person.
After completing the six-week program, David Mitchell landed a job as a wheelchair escort at Dulles Airport, a great relief for the 31-year-old, who had been unemployed for three years.
Through Community of Hope, David learned the confidence and poise required to make an interview turn into a job.
“Community of Hope saw something in me,” he said. "I found it, and now I’ve been working for six months. I’m going to be proud to do my taxes this year.”
COH has a dedicated and motivated staff, from the doctors and nurses who staff the health centers to CEO Kelly Sweeney McShane who, on March 24, was named one of eight Women of Excellence by Mayor Muriel Bowser, The Office on Women's Policy & Initiatives and the DC Commission for Women.
Like most nonprofit organizations, however, Community of Hope relies on loving and dedicated volunteers and mentors, people like Ellie Matthews.
For the past four years, Ellie has been a mentor with COH. She's been working with her current mentee, an elementary school girl, for two years. They spend their time together experiencing many of DC's cultural opportunities -- the National Zoo, or an Italian Christmas celebration at the Portrait Gallery, to name a few.
"I've been able to see her grow up," Ellie said of the child. "I enjoy the activities we do together. I can impart knowledge, and she teaches me things in a different way."
Despite any challenges she and her colleagues face in their work, Karis Erwin said the opportunity to see hope coming to fruition keeps her going.
“I’ve seen the lives that have been impacted and the lives that have been changed,” she said. “That’s motivation enough for me.”
Editor’s note: Sections in italics are based on stories sent to The Daily Do Good via e-mail by Community of Hope.