Read our client speakers' stories and check out our pictures from the event below:
When Aaron came to MND, he had just gotten out of prison after having been incarcerated for 14 years and 10 months. Since he had gone to prison at 16, Aaron had never held a job before and knew nothing about communicating with employers or presenting himself through a resume and interview. He found out about the program through a family member and was encouraged to attend. Although Aaron was hesitant, he really enjoyed the program. He received critical training and guidance from his job coach and the workshops and learned countless life lessons and skills that he hadn't had the opportunity to receive while incarcerated. Aaron felt respected at MND. "They never treated me differently or badly because of my charges or my appearance," Aaron said. After graduating from the program, Aaron held 4 survival jobs before landing his current job at an auto body shop. He really enjoys the work he is doing now and has been employed there for 6 months.
Johnny was a high level manager of a number of retail stores when he lost his job in 2006. After being laid off, Johnny was depressed and lacked confidence. He also realized that he had a severe barrier to finding another job; he couldn't read or write. Johnny admitted he needed help with this barrier and went to a local literacy nonprofit where he found out about MND. At MND, Johnny's spirits began to lift. He really benefitted from the one-on-one counseling and the mock interviews, and soon after the program ended, he found a survival job. He also continued to intern and volunteer at MND, to build his skills in the human services field. Johnny made good progress at his job and eventually found a second job, an entry-level position at another nonprofit that serves disabled individuals. Johnny worked hard there as well and was soon promoted to a management position even though he did not possess the necessary requirements. After working a total of 4 jobs to keep himself financially afloat, Johnny began looking to get back into retail management, where he knew he would excel and make enough money to support himself. He had 3 levels of interviews over a number of weeks for the position he currently holds as a manager of a large retail thrift store, and is doing well.
Veron is originally from Jamaica, but moved to Canada and then the U.S to escape domestic difficulties. When she came to the U.S, she started working as a babysitter and eventually, after getting her papers in order, became a nursing assistant. When Veron's new husband lost his job, finances became tight. She was having a rough time with the physical demands of her field and wanted to get into medical billing and coding. She found out however, that she didn't have her GED and so came to MND to get assistance. At MND, Veron's job coach encouraged her on a daily basis. She took the test in December, but didn't pass the math part. Feeling discouraged, Veron thought about quitting, but again her job coach kept pushing her and she retook the test, passing all parts. Her goal is to get into the billing and coding field now and to eventually own her own dressmaking/fashion business, as she has an A.A. degree in apparel design and was a seamstress back home in Jamaica. Veron said, "You have to try, if you don't try, you can never make it."
When Diomi lost her job last summer, she was devastated. She had worked since she was 15 and felt ashamed and depressed. She was new to Baltimore and didn't know what to expect when she came to MND. However, she discovered there were others in her situation here and that helped her feel less alone. At MND, Diomi learned valuable computer skills, got motivation from her job coach, received professional clothing to help her look the part, and participated in the mock interview process. Diomi felt that not having a bachelor's degree would perpetually hold her back, but she learned not to live in the past and to get rid of the distractions and negativity in her life and keep moving forward. She is now working as a customer services representative, a career she enjoys, and is looking forward to the rest of her journey.
Warren describes MND as truly his "second start". Warren came to MND after having been released from Federal Prison and having applied for over 150 jobs to no avail. He came across MND's website while doing research for job training centers on the internet, and decided to give the program a try. He was accepted and in 10 days, changed his life. Warren learned what he was doing wrong on his applications and in his resume and how to answer the question about his criminal background. While still in the program, Warren landed a job at a local shoe retailer part-time. His interviewer was so impressed with his demeanor and answers that she urged him to be on her management team and tailored his start date to his housing situation. Soon Warren was able to find full-time work at local car rental company at BWI airport. He is looking forward to learning more from this job and continuing to move forward in his career.