Mother finds employment, thanks to program offered by 'United Methodist Neighborhood Centers' in Memphis
Karese Douglas gained valuable job skills working at UMNS thrift store. Photo by Lane Gardner Camp
Karese Douglas, left, helps arrange merchandise in UMNC thrift store with Joyce Crawford, UMNC's Seedco program director. Photo by Lane Gardner Camp
Karese Douglas can’t say enough nice things about United Methodist Neighborhood Centers in Memphis.
Even though she has completed her job training program through UMNC and moved on, she still comes back to visit.
The Memphis Conference social service agency not only helped her find meaningful, stable employment, but worked with her to acquire and improve skills to be employable, especially after a period of unemployment that had left her discouraged and anxious about her future.
Douglas, mother of a 13-year-old and eight-month-old, describes her new full-time housekeeping job at Baptist Memorial Hospital as “wonderful.”
“I was shy when I first came (to UMNC),” said Karese, 32. “They helped bring me out of (my shyness).”
Brent Porterfield, UMNC’s Executive Director, explained, “A lot of encouragement goes with how we work with our Seedco vocational program participants.”
Douglas called the UMNC staff “like family” and Porterfield agreed.
Seedco is a national nonprofit organization headquartered in New York City that advances economic opportunity by, among other things, providing job placement, retention, and career advancement services to people looking for work.
Seedco partners with community-based organizations like UMNC.
UMNC typically has six to 10 Seedco vocational program participants at any one time, said Porterfield.
While at UMNC, Douglas gained simple, but valuable job skills such as how to speak clearly and professionally to people on the telephone and how to look people in the eye when she is interacting face to face.
“I had always been shy – since I was a little girl,” she said.
Now she converses easily and pleasantly – even with strangers.
Douglas’ time at UMNC was spent doing a variety of tasks – from housekeeping chores to working in UMNC’s "boutique" thrift store, located at 3000 Walnut Grove in Memphis.
It was in the thrift store that Douglas really blossomed, according to Porterfield and Joyce Crawford, UMNC’s Seedco program director and thrift store manager.
Working in the thrift store allowed Douglas to interact with customers, run a cash register, process merchandise, and generally understand how and why all aspects of a business or organization are important to its success.
So ready was Douglas for the work force after her time spent at UMNC that she actually had two good job offers, but could only choose one.
Speaking with confidence, she said, "That was a good problem to have."
Click HERE to learn more about the many programs and services of United Methodist Neighborhood Centers in Memphis.
By Lane Gardner Camp, Memphis Conference Director of Communications