I had a very uplifting experience last week that I would like to share with you. I received a wonderful letter from a former client thanking us for helping him in his time of need. But even better, when one of my staff followed up with our former client, she learned about his success story.
Our client needed help with rent and utilities after he graduated from an alcohol treatment program. The client said he never had a problem getting a job before. So, he was surprised when he was unable to find employment despite applying numerous places. The depressed economy, coupled with his previous work history, alcohol issues and age, he believed was keeping him from being hired.
So, he had to come to Wayne Township for help. When he came to our office, the client said he was treated with respect. The investigators took time to listen to him and encourage him, as well as gain the information necessary to qualify him for Township Assistance.
Township Assistance helped him to pay the bills for his studio apartment. The client said he didn’t know what he would have done without help from Wayne Township. While he was receiving financial assistance from the Township, he said, he participated in the Township’s Employment and Workfare Programs, both of which he praised.
Many persons don’t know that Township Assistance is not a hand-out of free money. All clients who are able to work must comply with both our Employment and Workfare Programs. If they fail to participate in these programs, they will be disqualified from receiving further Township Assistance for six months.
The Employment Program includes applying for jobs to which we refer the clients. It also includes attending our Wednesday employment training classes. Our client said knowing he had to apply for jobs gave him the extra nudge he needed to continue to go out and look for work. The weekly employment training classes were helpful too, he added.
Our Workfare Program requires clients to work at non-profit organizations as a way of paying back the community for the assistance they have received. This client said he did what we call his “workdays” at the Rescue Mission and at a CANI office. He also volunteered with the Township group for the City’s Great America Clean-Up. Being able to give back by working for the assistance he was receiving helped him with his self-esteem, our client said.
Since I have been Trustee, I have made a point of greeting everyone in our lobby each morning that I can. This client expressed appreciation to me for that morning greeting, saying it helped him feel that our office cared about him. While doing “workdays” at the Rescue Mission, the client said he saw persons who were struggling too. He said he tried to cheer them up in the same way he was supported at our office.
This client has turned 62 and is receiving Social Security benefits. While he was not able to find a paying job, he is continuing to do volunteer work now that he is retired. He also is proud, as he should be, for maintaining his sobriety for 19 months. His letter was a joy to read and my staff member thought speaking with him was “inspiring.”
My staff and I don’t expect “thank you’s” for what we do everyday, but it’s nice when a client or member of the public takes the time to thank us. One of the best parts of being Trustee is knowing our office was able to make a difference in a client’s life.
Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.
Wayne Township Trustee
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