Monica-300x225Reaching Out into the Community with the MELD Education and Employment Assistance Program

Hello! My name is Monica. I am 19 year old mother and have a 5 month old son, Roland.  We came to MELD Trinity House Homeless Shelter and program as a step towards independence and to gain my own strength.

As a teen I was very active and a positive role model in the community being involved in an Urban Agriculture initiative.  I attended Auburn High school but was not successful at graduation.  At age 18 I was pregnant, and I began to realized it was time to take steps towards maturity-soon I would be a mom.  I began looking for employment but was not successful at finding a job.  Being young, pregnant and not having finished my GED made it more difficult to find work.

When I came to MELD my son was 4 week old.  I was ready to move forward from stressful living situation I was in prior to coming there. MELD was able to assist me in finding adequate childcare, a stable home in their Transitional Living Program, and helping me study for my GED, which I now am very close to obtaining my GED.  I was also able to have employment through MELD’s Employment Assistance (MEAP) program. Through the MEAP program I am a part time office receptionist for Blue Sky Insurance Agencies.

I really enjoy my job and enjoy the people working around me.  At first it was a little intimidating being the person taking calls to help people with their insurance needs and questions.  I had no prior knowledge of the business but with the support of the other staff in the office it is slowly becoming more comfortable with the challenge as I learn more everyday that I go to work.

The MEAP program has been great.  I have been able to work part time while finishing my GED and now I have some income coming in for me and my son.

I thank God for bringing me to MELD and am very thankful for all the services they have helped me with. In the fall I plan to attend Rock Valley College to start my studies in journalism and also hoping to have a car by then.  “As long as I have a good support team and remain faithful to God, it only gets better from here”.     – Monica

Hello my name is Romero Bennett owner of Blue Sky Insurance Agency, Inc. I have been on the board of MELD for the last four years. I have experienced MELD in every way from the meetings, touring the facilities, fund raising events, listened to some of the mothers stories, to helping with the mission statement of the organization.

Over the years I had known about the MELD’s Employment Assistance Program but was busy with my own life and business.  One day I received a call from Darius Smith, MEAP coordinator at MELD, and the timing could not have been better because I had a need and did not realize this until I was educated about the program and how it works.

I realize that one of the reasons that I or other businesses have not taken advantage of the program is because it makes you look at yourself and the operations of your business as it is sometimes  easier to keep doing what you have been doing. You see, as a small business as many of you may know, the owner wears many hats and the thought of slowing down seems more like more work added to your life.

The concept of the MEAP program is great but now I have to reflect on the work of the MELD staff.

When a young lady name Monica came to my office, we sat down for an interview and she told me her story.  Right before my eyes I could see MELD’S Mission materializing in Monica.

How have I benefited? It started with Monica, she has great work ethic, a fast learner and a unexpected surprise she brought renewed life into our office.  I also love the fact that her attitude of overcoming has effected me greatly. The way I see it we all have things to overcome in our lives weather you are a young single mom or a small business owner wearing many hats.  The MEAP program has done wonders for my company, thank you MELD and  Monica.     -Romero Bennett

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