For eight weeks, from August to October, we partnered with Redemption Church and Cru Inner City to support a job club on Jacksonville’s west side. Over the course of those eight weeks, seventeen job seekers came to sessions on overcoming barriers, utilizing a network to find hidden jobs, planning out a way to start a career rather than find a survival job, interviewing, and more.
At CrossRoad United Methodist Church‘s job fair, on Saturday, October 7, several of those participants came and even brought along a friend. They arrived early, with plenty of time to spare before the 10:30 workshop, and they were prepared.
By the end of the day, three had been offered jobs on the spot. One of those ladies had been unemployed for six years, making this a truly life-changing opportunity for her and for her family.
Having known these job seekers for two months now, it was incredibly emotional for me to stand at a slight distance and watch the recruiters taking their information and eventually walking them up to the Opportunity Bell to ring it together. I know their stories, their struggles, and how miraculous it is that those people were, right before my eyes, transformed from chronically unemployed to gainfully employed with a reason to set the alarm in the morning, a way to pay for new clothes, and an example to set for their children.
Their lives didn’t change in isolation; they supported each other and they built up genuine relationships with Redemption Church volunteers and ministry staff who have helped them with access to professional clothing, bus passes, transportation to the job fair, and a lot of prayer. But that help didn’t flow in only one direction. Two of the ladies hired have since shared rides to go for their background testing and fingerprinting, and they are further and further investing in community that will last.
Lives are changed by those relationships, that community, and the endless grace that flows out of people who have been endlessly loved by a Savior who never tires of investing in his children. Just ask my friends from Redemption’s job club.