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Rising to the Occasion

Linda is a force to be reckoned with. She has had her struggles in the past but dogged in her ways, nothing holds her back.

The proof of Linda’s commitment is in the countless letters of recommendation she has collected through years of seizing every opportunity that comes her way. With those letters are flyers with new ways to get involved in the community. That is, after all, how she found her way to Episcopal Community Services.

By way of the RISE Initiative, Linda participated in our 10-week-long career readiness program for adults ages 18 and older. This year, RISE became available to adults of all ages in the Greater Philadelphia region. In this program, they receive individualized support while working on the basics of getting a job.

“Every time I come to this building, I get this feeling that comes over me … like my support system is here,” she said. And it is.

Staff became Linda’s teachers and biggest cheerleaders, as did our volunteers who participated in speed networking and mock interview events. She improved her computer competencies, spruced up her resume, and improved her interpersonal and interviewing skills.

“Linda is one of the most motivated people I have worked with,” said Evan Colgan-Davis, opportunity development coach, who works one-on-one with program participants. “She brought excitement and light into the program whenever she was here.”

Upon graduating from RISE, Linda landed an apprenticeship with the housekeeping department of YMCA, which eventually turned into a job offer.

“Change is coming. [It’s] already happening,” she said.

She stays connected and volunteers her time with organizations that have helped her change her course in life, including ECS. And Linda, as our volunteers did for her, shares her knowledge and experiences with peers.

“We keep what we have only by giving it away,” she said. “Some people are less fortunate and they really don’t have [much]. I know when I first came around, I didn’t have everything. Where I have come from, there have been many obstacles. If I’ve got free time, I let it count for something,” she said.