This is Day 3 of National Volunteer Week and the 3rd of the posts Elissa Plastino and I are sharing with you about the causes that are near and dear to us. When I saw the Blogging for a Cause idea, I expected to have some fun and share some of the reasons we try to help others, but what I’ve realized is that it’s been quite a soul-searching experience.
Monday’s post, Relay for Life, took on greater meaning when our good friend passed away. It took me two days before I was brave enough to read Elissa’s words. Yesterday’s post while inspirational, makes me wonder just how long Jill Roberts will be able to share her strength with the world. Today’s post reminds me of how easily things can slip away.
I met a young lady by the name of Sarah Wayson in 2005. She was just out of college and starting a new and exhilarating job at Wynn Las Vegas – at the time THE place to work in Las Vegas. Coupled with the high-profile our jobs had, it could very well be a slippery slope. Over the years that followed Sarah grew to be a very strong, independent and confident woman. She struggled and made it through in a way that surprised even her. Tragically, her life was cut short, and something about that spurred me to find a way to help women who were in some way struggling for that strength and confidence Sarah found.
Connections To Success was that way for me. “Connections” was started by a remarkable woman by the name of Kathy Lambert who first started helping women by helping them find the appropriate interview attire through Dress for Success…to the point of taking the shoes off of her feet to complete one woman’s outfit. She realized, however, that dressing them was not enough and began to develop additional programs: mentoring, skills training, health & wellness and even developed a program for providing cars. Do you know that even though a woman may find a job that helps her break through the struggle that transportation can still be a basic challenge to success?
Connections is dedicated to helping men and women achieve economic independence. The programs are not a temporary fix. They are intended to promote a life change through a holistic approach. Its family of programs is designed to encourage life-long engagement with all participants.
And, Connections is making a difference:
74% job placement rate for participants that have completed the Connections program versus the 40% national average for offenders in the first year of release
The recidivism rate drops to 14% for Connections participants versus the 44% national average in the first year of release
The average wage of participants engaged in the Pathways to Success program is $10.60/hour
Employment retention for Connections participants is currently 71%
Connections program participants earn 86% higher wages within six months of landing employment than those not in the program
58% fewer are on Medicaid
87% fewer live in shelters or other temporary housing
How can you help? Volunteer. Donate work-appropriate clothing. Donate cars. Donate cash. Become a mentor. Gather some family, friends or co-workers and take The Power Walk for Dress for Success this coming May 12.