Thursday, March 17, 2011

How I Benefited from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

By Babs Nelson

When I was 52 years old the company where I had worked as an Administrative Assistant for 8½ years went through its third “downsizing” and I lost my job. Over the next 4 years, I worked sporadically in temporary assignments and was unable to find permanent employment. I hit my low in 2006 when a combination of poor financial decisions and the Hoarding aspect of my Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder led to the loss of the condo I had rented for 9 years. I stayed in a shelter, and after that eye-opening experience, I was lucky to be accepted by a women’s residence operated by the Volunteers of America (VOA). While there, I rejoined the world of regular 8:00 to 5:00 workers. Unfortunately, due to my perfectionism, I was not a good fit and was let go after 10 months. The VOA home closed, but I was able to move into another VOA residence that provides transitional housing for homeless women.

In November of 2009, I visited Bayaud Enterprises, a nonprofit organization that helps those with disabilities or other barriers to employment, such as homelessness, find work. Just over a week later, I was hired as the Assistant Instructor for their General Office Skills Training program. Initially, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funded the position, and later, Bayaud hired me directly. I find the work extremely rewarding as I help students learn necessary skills, including: typing, computer programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, communication, and self esteem. I also sit on the Bayaud Homeless Advisory Council that works to ensure Bayaud successfully supports our homeless clients. I no longer take any blessings for granted and am grateful for each day and thankful that Recovery Act helped me reach economic security and is helping to strengthen the middle class.

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