Connecting to Resources and Passions
Photo: Rhonda at the YMCA working with children in the Children's Program
Rhonda completed the StepUp Durham workshop in the fall of 2017. Rhonda received a Masters in Church Ministry with a Christian Education Certification from Duke Divinity School in 2007. Before completing her Masters, Rhonda taught high school and middle school Theater. After graduate school, she was employed as an Outreach Minister for a local church in Durham for six years. The Outreach program was a grant funded position and when it ended, Rhonda found herself unemployed and seeking.
Although she founded a church and continued working in ministry, she needed to be bi-vocational. As Rhonda reflects on her situation before starting workshop, she says “Two years ago, I was unemployed. I searched diligently. I knew I had more than enough experience and education but no one was hiring me.” A friend shared with her about StepUp. She was very interested in applying because she believed that maybe there was something that she could learn that would assist her with her job seeking skills.
Workshop was a turning point for Rhonda in finding employment. Rhonda had the experience and qualifications necessary to gain employment, but the workshop enabled her to refresh her interviewing skills and gain confidence in seeking a job. She describes how “It can get discouraging and affect your confidence when you are excited about positions that you interview for and continue hearing that they chose to go with other candidates over and over again.” Rhonda reflected on workshop and said “I learned to interview confidently and effectively. There were skills that I employed that proved to be successful.” This was pivotal for Rhonda’s employment search.
About a month later, Rhonda was hired at the YMCA. Rhonda says “I am now a Site-Coordinator for a YMCA After school Program. My responsibilities include supervising staff, reviewing and implementing program curriculum, events and activities.” She has now been there for a year and three months. She loves the children that she interacts with on the job and they love her. She says, “The precious children are the favorite part of the job.” StepUp partners with folks in their job seeking process and hopes to empower them to maintain long term stability.
For long term stability it is important that folks not only gain meaningful employment, but also retain that employment. We invite folks, like Rhonda, to stay engaged with us in order to refresh their job seeking strategies when necessary. Another way folks stay engaged with us long term is through Step2 whhere they can focus on career, personal, and financial development. We also celebrate job retention by giving participants incentives at the 3 month, 6 month and one year anniversary of employment. Several factors can impact a person’s ability to retain employment and at StepUp Durham we hope to celebrate folks who continue to strive in maintaining employment.
Co-written by Rhonda Hatton & Caroleana Kvaterchuk