It Takes a Community

“He has only been back three weeks!” Shawn’s mother beams with pride. “He has done so much in just three weeks, and now a job interview!”

Her son sits with wrapped anticipation, he is young and his dark brown eyes are alert, but wary. You can almost feel his excitement as he listens to everything I say.

“Be sure to just be yourself. They are looking for hard working, honest, and someone who doesn’t mind learning a few things. It’s a good job, but you have to be sure to always look nice, show respect to everyone, and be on time.”

He nods at me, I know he knows all of this. But we are all excited. Shawn arrived back in Baltimore three weeks ago. He was born here, and has been away for a while. But, he is now home, and ready to start a new chapter, and as quickly as he can.

ShawnA week ago Shawn’s mother brought him to the Franciscan Center to help him get an ID. A little known fact about being in prison: when you get out, you usually don’t have much; and ID’s are hard to get if you don’t have say, a birth certificate or anything else.

So Shawn spoke to our social worker on his visit and left with the knowledge that the Franciscan Center was not only going to help him get an ID, but was going to pay for it. (Another fact about being recently released: no job, usually no money.)

Meanwhile across town a local clothing manufacture was in a meeting with Christopher Schafer, Baltimore’s clothier, and executive director of Baltimore Fashion Alliance (BFA). This business owner was sharing with Christopher his need for someone in his shipping department. Christopher thought of the Franciscan Center, and our Attire 4 Hire program that BFA partners with. It seemed a natural fit and Christopher told the gentleman to call us.

When Shawn came back to the Center on Thursday we had some news for him. Not only was his ID ready, but we had a job lead. “Can I call them right now?” he asks Judy, our social worker. She gives him the phone, and leaves him in the privacy of her office while he calls and speaks to the owner of the clothing company. A few minutes later he emerges from the office, grinning from ear to ear.

“I have an interview tomorrow. He said I can talk to him about one of two jobs.”

As he leaves I make sure he has the clothing he needs for the interview. “Yeah, I’ve got a suit. I’ll make sure it fits and call and tell you about the interview.”

We can’t wait. The entire staff here at The Franciscan Center is rooting for him. We all need to remember that it takes an entire communities working together to change the lives of those in need.

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To learn more about Baltimore Fashion Alliance, check out: http://baltimorefashionalliance.org/ also, on facebook and twitter at: http://twitter.com/bmorefashion – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Baltimore-Fashion-Alliance

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