Tag Archives: job search

Alton Salvation Army helps single mother find hope after layoff and divorce

“I had this great network of people that believed in me.”

By: Sacre Ntumba and Danni Eickenhorst, Midland Division

Only two years ago, Amanda McDonald felt as though she was battling for her life. She was on the verge of being homeless after a layoff, enduring the hardship of divorce and feeling rejected by many in her life. Amanda’s self esteem was at an all-time low. “I felt worthless,” McDonald says simply. Amanda recalls how she felt unable to meet the challenges put before her. She was going through a separation with her then-husband and enduring all of the legal and emotional turmoil that accompany such a separation.

As she struggled to overcome seemingly insurmountable difficulties, starting over in her family life and working to find a job, she became increasingly depressed and had difficulty taking the needed steps to improve her situation. When she felt she could no longer do it all on her own, she reached out for help to the Alton Salvation Army. The local community center assisted her in obtaining food and clothing for her kids, both boys who are currently five and ten years old.

To her surprise, a search for food and clothing turned into much more, because she began to receive assistance with her medical benefits, her unemployment, her kids’ activities, and a balm for her own soul as she found she had people in her corner, rooting for her success at the Alton Salvation Army. She found herself treated her with respect and love, things she had previously felt unworthy of. The support system at the Salvation Army motivated her to take the necessary steps to improve her situation, and the youth programs they had for her children helped them forget the hard times they were going through, providing them with a refuge.

The Salvation Army did more than just giving her a hand to rely on, it gave her hope; hope that would restore her spirit and make her feel like a brand new person who could achieve anything she wanted to through God. Soon after she became involved with The Salvation Army, Amanda started to look for a new job, found one, and was ultimately promoted to a managerial position. The seemingly endless blessings she saw in her life made her realize that “God never closes a door without opening another one for you,” she said, a huge smile beaming. As Amanda continued her involvement with The Salvation Army, she found herself coming alive again. “I had this great network of people that believed in me,” she recalls, and she began to take steps to address all areas of her life.

Nearly two years after the darkest period she can recall in her life, Amanda has hope. She is going back to school and plans to keep her kids in the Salvation Army’s character building programs. She volunteers her time at the community center, doing whatever she can do to help others find hope in their situations. The lesson to learn from Amanda’s story is that one can always rely on God’s mysterious, but amazing help; and all one must do to receive it, is to ask for it and accept it.

“The Bible also teaches that even while bad things are happening, good things are also trying to happen to you.” Major John R. Cheydleur


Granite City Salvation Army opens T.L. Williams Job Resource Center

Center comes in response to recent federal budget cuts

By: Danni Eickenhorst, Content Specialist, Midland Division

In response to federal budget cuts that have forced the closure of local job search resource centers in Madison County, the Granite City Salvation Army, located at 3007 E 23rd Street in Granite City, Ill., has opened the T.L. Williams Job Resource Center.

Those seeking employment may visit The Salvation Army Monday through Friday from 1 to 3:30 p.m. to meet with professionals who can provide job search assistance and interview coaching. Resident employment expert LaTonya Burkes will provide assistance with resume writing, and a computer lab is available for seekers to use when applying for jobs.

“While the job center doesn’t completely replace workNet, which was forced to close, we hope that it will help fill the gap so that those who are looking for employment have every opportunity to succeed,” said Major Garry Lowder, Granite City Worship and Community Center officer.

“The [Salvation Army’s] Granite City corps location provides social service assistance to area residents who need food, fuel and help with utilities. This is just another phase in meeting the needs of the community,” said Lowder.
Job seekers may visit the corps Monday through Friday for assistance, and can call to speak with LaTonya Burkes at (618) 451-7957.

”Ready for a new challenge”: The Alton Salvation Army prepares job seekers for success

By: Sacre Ntumba and Danni Eickenhorst, Midland Division

It’s Friday July 1 and today, we are visiting The Salvation Army’s Alton corps. As an intern, this is my first visit to a Salvation Army community center, and I am struck by how welcoming the place is. Here, visitors are greeted by a warm and welcoming staff, and even the clients being helped seem to be happy to be here.

The Alton Worship and Community Center is a social services hub for this blue collar community, and today one of the thrice-weekly job training classes is about to take place. From the looks on the faces of everyone in this room, one can tell that these people have felt downtrodden and that the job search has taken a toll on them, but it is clear that this is a place of refuge and that they are hopeful that this training will help them find the job that will turn their life around.

On this particular morning, fifteen people of various ethnicities, education levels and professional backgrounds, ranging in age from early 20’s to maybe 60 years of age, are all gathered in the room. One young mother has her young children playing at her feet, while another takes diligent notes. Some wear casual clothing, while others are dressed for success, as if they are ready to interview at any moment. The attendees listen carefully as Christine Pavlow, of Hoylton Youth and Family Services teaches them how to prepare for the interview process and coaches them with a question and answer session.

After the lesson, the attendees break out into smaller groups and act out an interview with their classmates. Some do well, while one woman tears up as she has her mock interview and turns to the class saying, “This is how nervous I get in an interview.” Those that struggle have Christine and their classmates to turn to. Overall, many of those in attendance all seem to understand and employ the principles that Pavlow taught them, and for those that struggle, Christine coaches them through. On difficult questions, the whole class works to suggest a better answer for their classmates. As I watch this, I am truly struck by the way it felt like these people were all a part of a big family working toward one common goal, and how determined they seem that no one be left behind.

In the beginning it all looked like just another job class, which are becoming so common place in this down economy, but towards the end, the true spirit of The Salvation Army shone through, as we watched people work to help each other rise above.


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