We do not serve clients. We work with Members. We are partners in their search for meaningful employment and economic independence.
Success looks different for each of them. For some, it is collecting their first paycheck or earning a promotion. For others, it is a home of their own or a beach vacation.
We offer lifelong coaching because we know success is a lifelong pursuit, and a good job opens a world of possibilities. It cannot change someone’s past, but it can change their path.
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Patrick Smith was 42 years old when he called his mother, crying, from jail. He was separated from his girlfriend, addicted to crack cocaine and facing a felony drug-possession charge. He has always been quick to help others in need, but he did not know how to help himself.
“I didn’t know how to live,” he said. “I felt like I went to sleep at 28 and woke up 42, like, ‘What am I doing?’”
Smith would relapse twice within the next year, because real-life success stories don’t follow a script. He went through Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous and Co-Dependents Anonymous. He participated in the Cincinnati Works job-readiness workshop five years after the jail term and made his first donation to Cincinnati Works five years after that.
He has since donated nine more times. In August, he will mark 20 years drug-free.
Success is surviving another day, holding off the demons long enough to help another person in need.
“I feel like I owe it,” Smith said. “Everyone is great here. I really appreciate it.”
He has held a job at Technitron Integration Services for 11 years after previously working 18 years for Mechanical Supplies Co. He values the lessons on professionalism that he received years ago, and he still stops by our office to meet with social worker Jacque Edmerson.
“When they tell you that you can come back here whenever you need it, for however long it takes,” Smith said, “that’s the deal of a lifetime.”
His donations have contributed to thousands of Members finding employment, income, stability and camaraderie, just as other supporters invested in his success.
Editor’s note: This story initially appeared in our 2018 Annual Report.