Thursday, July 26, 2012

Job-Seekers' Field Trip Leads to Employment

As July winds down, the Career Development job search winds up as three job-seekers hopped in the car and headed to some local businesses with the Career Development Program Manager.

What prompted the trip?

"The other day we were talking about ways to save money, and I realized that none of them knew about the cheaper local businesses," said Program Manager Romina. As recent immigrants and refugees, they must find ways to make ends meet, and what better way than getting quality items at a low price.

Being job-seekers as well, the lessons extended beyond just visiting stores like Marshalls, Burlington Coat Factory, Ross and Subway. "On our way to each of the stores, we practiced how to ask for an application," Romina explained. During the drive each one rehearsed the words to say – putting their English lessons to the test. At each business they put this practice to work, walking away with job applications.

One student, Osama, was motivated by the trip and went out on his own to apply at other nearby locations, including local sandwich shopTogos. A few days later he heard back from Togos and found out he got the job! He started this week and is doing fabulously.

The very proud Program Manager Romina visited Osama at his new work this week and spoke with the Togos branch manager who said he sees Osama as a hard-working and very bright employee. He expects Osama will become a general manager at the store in the future. The amazing abilities and commitment of Career Development students and staff is truly inspiring!

Ex'pression Features Chavez Center in a Documentary Video

Those of you following our facebook page already know that group of students from Ex'pression College for Digital Arts paid a visit to the Chavez Center.  This group of aspiring artists and future movie-makers came to film a documentary about immigrants. While they were here, they not only gained valuable practice for their respective majors, but they also learned a little more about the Center and what impact we are enacting on the community.

The group filmed some of our programs in action and sat down for personal interviews with a few staff and clients. Eager to learn more, the students asked all sorts of very inspired questions. They were sure surprised and touched by what they heard! Upon leaving the center, the group truly had a renewed sense of the voice that they are giving this under-served population. We thank them for their great work!

You can do your part to support these students and the work of MCP/Chavez Center – just watch the video for yourself!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Lead Poisoning: An Education and Test of Health

A warm, healthy breakfast; a video; and doctors-- a unique picture on Monday morning here at the Chavez Center. But all was for an important cause-- lead poisoning education.  

We held a workshop outlining the dangers of lead poisoning and the importance of protecting our health and well-being. Since we have added a lot of new clients at the Chavez Center, this particular health lesson was eye-opening. They learned about the symptoms, ways to prevent lead poisoning, and what to do if you have it. Construction workers were awed by the many unexpected ways they could get lead poisoning. Even our computer students were surprised to learn that computer parts can also have lead!

 Why stop with just education though? Phlebotomy students were brought in to test our members and practice their skills as well. Twenty-Three of our members and community residents were tested for lead poisoning as part of the workshop, so they could get treatment if needed. For one man, the test was a challenge as anxiety gripped him. With the encouraging teasing from other members, he snuck in as the last of the twenty-three, and his peers cheered for him when he was done.

The hope is to educate our clients about hidden health risks and help them find ways to stay safe and keep their families safe in the future. Even the doctor from OSHA was surprise by the need for this sort of education in the community. 

We would like to especially thank the Community Wellness and Prevention Program, Carrington College and OSHA.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Antonio's Story of Struggle, Story of Survival, Story of Success

Day Labor member Antonio rarely gets hired for the jobs he loves. His slow, stumbling words and older appearance quickly causes employers to hesitate calling on him for precise tiling work. What they don’t know is that Antonio suffered several strokes that put him here.

In his time with the Day Labor Program, Antonio has found the support of the members as he suffered and underwent recovery. The strokes left him unable to walk and talk. As someone whose expertise relies heavily on physical ability, this was a true struggle for Antonio. He worked diligently for months to rehabilitate and to relearn these basic skills.

Today, he is able to get around easily, although a little more slowly. And today we ask ourselves where would Antonio have gone if he hadn’t been with us, and what others might be going through this too? While the answers are scary, we are just thankful that Antonio found the support and empowerment he needed.

At the center Antonio is among the most social and compassionate members even though he recognizes that his speech and actions lag. Because of this seemingly clumsy motion, many people are reluctant to hire his highly-regarded expertise, even though his talents have not suffered one bit!

But with enough hard work and dedication, it’s only a matter of time before opportunity will come knocking. In July Antonio as he was given the chance to do the work that is near and dear to his heart. As a skilled worker with a true passion for working with tile, stone, granite and marble Antonio was very excited to accept this job assignment. His work was impeccable as his excitement for the job carried him through.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Passionate Volunteer Brings Classes Closer Than Ever

The Career Development Program has been truly grateful for the energy of our newest volunteer, Nadia. Such energy and knowledge that she brings complements the already lively Career Development Program Manager, Romina. Putting her enthusiasm and expertise to work, Nadia jumped in to teach job preparation to the Career Track computer students. This series of in-class workshops, presentations and assignments will cover resume writing, an essential tool for our hardworking, computer-savvy, job-seeking students.  With a polished resume in hand, students will move on to tackle bigger lessons in customer service classes.

Nadia's first day with all of the staff.
All the students were very impressed and happy to meet Nadia, who has a great deal of experience as an instructor and business developer in her native Nicaragua. This is what students had to say after only the first class with Nadia, “This is the perfect complement to our classes to think and have a better picture of what is next,” stated Norberto, a Career Track student. This just shows how Nadia has really become the link that joins the Career Development and Technology Empowerment programs at the Chavez Center.

Our advanced class students will graduate in mid-June with great knowledge of Microsoft Office programs, customer service and their resume ready to start their job search. What an amazing experience to gain all of these skills in one class!

Interested in getting in on the next session of classes? Enrollment is starting June 18! Make sure you sign up! Call 925-682-8248 for more information.