Pamela is one of five 2011 Stuart G. Moldaw Step-Up Award recipients. Pamela was terrified when the bad economy put an end to the career she’d relied on for forty years. Unemployed for the first time in her life, the mother and grandmother spent ten fruitless months looking for a job. She grew more frightened and depressed when she and her daughter were forced to move into a crowded home. “I was always the provider,” she says. “Not working made me feel worthless.” Afraid she would end up on the streets, she made a bold decision to start over with something brand new.
“It takes a lot of courage, and a lot of humility, and it might not be the same thing you used to do, but there are jobs out there if you are willing to take the training,” Pamela says. She enrolled in Community Housing Partnership’s training program for desk clerks, where she received both classroom instruction and on-the-job training. When she graduated, CHP helped her land a fulltime job at The Coronet, a housing complex for seniors.
Pamela is now in command of her station in the lobby of the Coronet, where she greets residents and checks in visitors, all the time making sure that the building is safe and secure. “I like the interaction with people and the fact that I feel like a caretaker,” she says. “Because of this job, I have a sense of faith in myself again. I feel like I can do something, that at my age I can retrain and learn something new.”
The Stuart G. Moldaw Step-Up Award is an annual honor, named in memory of one of REDF’s founding board members. The award is given to employees of REDF-supported social enterprises for their tenacity and courage in overcoming significant barriers to employment – like people who have been homeless or in prison, young people who’ve dropped out of school or people with mental health disabilities.