Helping America's Most Vulnerable

Why the work we do matters

Marieo is a 54 year old male who served in the Army for three years and has worked as a cook in restaurants for many years. He has four children . His wife passed away a few years ago due to cancer. This was a very difficult time for Marieo to deal with due to. After losing his job in April 2012, Marieo had trouble bouncing back. He kept going in for interviews at restaurants, but was turned down for every job. Numerous times he was given feedback that was hard to hear. He was told that he was overqualified, that he was too old to be standing all day, and that he was too old to keep up with the fast paced environment of a restaurant. In February 2013, Marieo came to Volunteers of America of Illinois seeking assistance. Because he was unable to find a job, he lost his home. Marieo and his youngest daughter, moved in with relatives, so that they would not have to live in a shelter or sleep on the streets. Marieo was not worried about himself, but wanted to protect his daughter. He was left to sleep on the living room couch.

Marieo enrolled in our True North Project  program with the goal of obtaining stable employment. Marieo attended our four week Professional Development Workshop, where he learned professional skills, such as how to create a resume and interview and problem solving at work. Marieo came to us not knowing how to use a computer, with no working email address, with a resume that had not been updated in ten years, and very little interviewing skills. He wanted to learn all of these skills, because he knew that this would help him reach his goals. I was able to sit with Marieo and teach him basic computer skills, as well as how to set up an email. He was patient, took notes, and tested out all of the different things that he had learned. Marieo did research and found all of the missing information to update his resume for the past ten years, and we spent many hours compiling this information together. With every piece of feedback he was given, Marieo improved his interviewing ability and became able to leverage himself as an employee.

Marieo put in a great deal of time and effort, and was able to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. After all of this hard work, Marieo secured a job in May 2013. He was so full of pride. Marieo maintained this job for a year, and now has begun working at a new restaurant with even better hours and work shifts.