Tuesday, July 22, 2008

One Man Can Change His Family's Destiny

Meet Demond

I met Demond last September at one of first open houses at Monroe Circle Community Center. He had recently moved his family from Chicago to South Bend due to the ever increasing violence in the windy city. Demond was a gang banger on the south-side of Chicago but something inside of him wanted more for his family. Problem was moving from Chicago changed his address but really didn't change his destiny - it seemed no one wanted to look beyond his past and give him a chance. So, that Saturday afternoon in September he was sitting on his front porch, had just popped open an ice cold beer and someone walked up and asked if he would like to come over to the community forum at MC3. His first response was "no thanks - I'm good!" but something called hope nudged him inside so he poured out that frosty beer and walked over to MC3.

After meeting with Demond a couple of times we asked him if he would help us test a partnership with the Center for the Homeless and go through a program called STARs. STARs is a 5-week "soft-skills" vocational training program that teaches many of the "unspoken" rules of the middle-class work world that someone growing up in the projects of Chicago would never have had the chance to learn. Something sparked inside of Demond and everyone could visibly see and hear the difference. The staff at the Center we so impressed with Demond that they asked him to interview for a lead front desk staff position. Out of 35+ candidates he was one of the two finalist. Demond was not offered the job and he was disappointed but not discouraged - he knew he was headed in the right direction.

We then introduced Demond to the people at Personnel Partners and they were extremely impressed with his focus and intent on finding an opportunity. He worked a couple of temporary jobs until he landed at Genesis Group where he is excelling beyond expectation as a customer support person. Today, he is one of their top sales people.

Last Sunday afternoon, SonCity Kids had a carnival in the Cove's parking lot for all the kids and families of Monroe Circle. Demond showed up with his five kids and wanted to help out. He spent time in the dunk tank to his kid's delight and at the end of the day asked Corey (SCK site leader) if he could plug in and help out.

Demond has changed his family's destiny and possibly will leave a last legacy at Monroe Circle. Keep walking my friend!

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