Back to School and Work: Ambassador Program Helps Southwest Baltimore Adults Achieve Goals

January 31st, 2017

At age 18, Niyah was on a path to overcome the poverty that surrounded her as a child. She had graduated high school, started college, and was working part-time. Then her grandmother got sick and couldn’t afford the in-home care she needed. Niyah dropped out of school and quit her job to be her grandmother’s caregiver. One year later, her grandmother died, and Niyah lost her closest relative, her home, and her source of support all at once.

For months, she tried to find a job – any job – while sleeping on the couches of family members. She was starting to lose hope when she found Paul’s Place. Niyah first came for lunch and laundry service, and while here, learned about the Ambassador program. She began volunteering – helping with tasks from cleaning tables during lunch to doing data entry – and joined the Women’s Group, where she found encouragement and support to follow her dreams.

As an Ambassador, she got a Walmart gift card and a bus pass each month that helped with her living expenses. More importantly, she participated in professional development workshops on topics including business etiquette and budgeting, got leadership experience helping to run the morning meeting, and was paired with a case manager.

Over the course of a year, Niyah’s case manager helped her re-enroll at Baltimore City Community College, apply for financial aid, update her cover letter and resume, improve her typing speed, practice interviewing, and apply for jobs that matched her skills and fit her school schedule. On achieving her goals to go back to school and find a job, Niyah graduated and became an Ambassador Alumni.

Niyah is now back in school, with her sights set on a career in human services, and working in the dietary department at the University of Maryland Medical Center. She still volunteers at Paul’s Place and comes to the Women’s Group when she can. She also continues to work with our case managers to weather set-backs in school and work and make further progress toward her dreams.

Last year alone, 886 individuals, including Niyah, received coaching from our caring and knowledgeable case management team – free of charge. Case management services help adults and children in Southwest Baltimore with structured, on-going assistance in navigating complex challenges and reaching self-selected goals related to housing, employment, mental and physical health, education, and other issues. Our case management team tailors the approach to meet our guests where they are and guide them toward self-sufficiency. This intensive process requires multiple one-on-one coaching sessions over several months to a year or more, and 90% of guests in ongoing case management reported an increase in self-sufficiency.

You can help individuals like Niyah succeed: each $100 in support equates to a job coaching sessions or case management session for one adult. Thank you!