One of our Friendly Visiting volunteers, Ricardo, called his senior friend Marvin to confirm that he would be accompanying him to a doctor’s appointment. He couldn’t reach Marvin. Ricardo decided to just go directly to his apartment, but couldn’t get an answer to the bell. The volunteer knocked on the super’s door to see if he had heard or seen Marvin. The super brought his key so they could check on the senior friend’s apartment, where they found Marvin on the bathroom floor in critical condition. Riccardo accompanied his friend in the ambulance, where he looked gaunt and malnourished. Marvin was just able to say, “You just saved my life!”
A Chanukah Story
One of our visiting Connect2 volunteers, Caroline, wrote me about her visit with our Holocaust survivor Mascha who lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Going beyond her duty of visiting for an hour for a friendly visit, Caroline decided to stay a little longer in order to help the 96 year old survivor light the Chanukah Menorah, since Caroline knew that Mascha does not have a home attendant for weekends.
The volunteer described how beautiful it was to get to light this menorah with her survivor friend. She went further to relay that they recited the first verse of the Chanukah blessing together. I questioned Caroline about this, since I know that Mascha is not an observant woman.
Caroline explained that she was raised observant and knew how to pray well, but was not observant in her adulthood. However, when Caroline sang the verse with her it all came back to her at the age of 96! The volunteer explained “it was so beautiful to watch her recall all the words as we recited it together.”
Transforming a Life—and a Family
When Paulina came to the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island, she was unemployed, spoke very little English and had a difficult family situation. The concerned and dedicated staff of Vocational Support Systems placed Paulina in an English as a Second Language class and a beginner’s computer class, and utilized their available resources to improve her personal circumstances.
The constant emotional support provided by the staff gave Paulina the extra motivation to successfully complete her courses. At the same time, they were able to obtain camp scholarships for each of Paulina’s children, allowing their mother the peace of mind she needed to focus on her future.
When her counselors at Vocational Support Systems got her an interview with Ohel / Bais Ezra / The Lifetime Care Foundation for the Disabled, Paulina was excited and anxious. She was hired and started working as a part-time counselor. After completing a special on-site training course, Paulina was promoted to a full-time position that boasted an excellent benefits plan.
From Training to Full Time Employment
One of our vocational trainees was placed in a training assignment in counseling, which was consistent with the trainee’s overall objectives and goals. The agency representative thoroughly assessed the trainee’s skill level and took the time to place the trainee where it would be most beneficial to them. This ultimately led the trainee to full time employment.
The trainee sent a note of gratitude and stated that they were given the opportunity to be an example of how the JCCGCI is most helpful in assisting vocational participants in obtaining full time permanent employment.
Learning Crucial Money Skills
One of our ESL students came to her teacher to say that she had been in the U.S. for 11 years, but this week was the first time she had written a check and money order by herself. She was able to do that because of the “banking and money” lessons we did in ESL last week. She gave the teacher a hug and told her how her family knows about ‘teacher Liana’ and the English classes where she is learning a lot.
Business English as a Passport to Success
One of our students taking Business English was recently hired as an IT technician with Time Warner Cable. He sent this letter:
Since I started my Business English Class I have made significant headway. Today, my English is not perfect but I feel more confident about myself. I understand more and try to speak more clearly.
Presently, I am working as IT Technician and I can say that the class helped me in my assessment test and also in my interview. For exemple Upglo and the evening class helped me to practice more and doing:
1. The way to write and personalize my resume
2. To write a letter of interest
3. To talk on the phone and contact some companies
4. Doing my marketing pitch and networking in my professional field
I am really happy to continue my class and I take the class as an opportunity to improve my English skills, continue to learn more and do my homework. I feel more comfortable in my self esteem and hope in the end of the program I will be a proficient English speaker.
JCCGCI Employment Services Score Job for Immigrant
One of the active grads of our employment services accepted a job offer from the DEPA to be a Public Health Inspector, after five years in the U.S., working outside her field and enduring several years of unemployment. She told us that it was the best day she has had since she got to this country. She will be earning $38,000.
This grad is also a member of our current ESL class, and the 11th out of the 17 members of her women’s summit group to get a job.