(Editor’s Note: Colorado Gives Day 2015 arrives tomorrow – December 8th. Several members of the CEO staff are sharing their personal experiences working with CEO clients. We hope that you will be inspired to take a few moments to read these stories – consider making a contribution, and then pass them along to your friends and family – This reflection is from CEO volunteer Craig Swank)
Reflections on Success: Enrique’s Story
“I have been a volunteer at CEO now for 5 ½ years. During that time I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with more than 800 CEO Clients. Most of my one-on-one time with Clients has been assisting with employment search usually assisting with practice interviews but also reviewing resumes and discussing problems that arise during the search for a job in a demanding and competitive job market.
I have so many memories I could share from these past six years but here is one that stands out as inspiration for me. Enrique came to CEO with a difficult background. He had worked at various jobs over the years and took pride in being a hard and productive worker even though he lacked a formal education having dropped out of school at an early age.
He didn’t grow up with a solid family foundation lacking caring parents and most often fending for himself. As has happened to so many of the people who find their way to us either court referrals or after serving a sentence – Enrique considered his arrival at CEO as most likely his final chance to make it. Over the years he had accumulated a considerable misdemeanor and felony record, had fallen into substance abuse, basically found trouble just about anywhere he journeyed.
After arriving at CEO Enrique began discovering his potential. He was at first surprised at the concern and dedication the CEO staff extended to him. After testing to assess his current academic levels he was quickly aligned with instructors and tutors and enrolled in GED. His initial steps were small but rather soon he began to make progress not only in his studies but with many of the key areas offered by CEO such as computer skills, life and budgeting skills and more.
It was mid winter when Enrique was cleared to begin job search. Denver was experiencing much snow and very low temperatures. The CEO clients must face all forms of weather each day – on foot and using public transportation whether it be on job search or after securing a job.
I had met up with Enrique for a practice interview which went pretty well as he was gaining in confidence at the time. I didn’t see him for several weeks and then one day when I was in the CEO hallways awaiting my next client, bounding up the hall came Enrique all smiles and out of breath. “I got a job!” he exclaimed loudly. He was so excited and I could tell he wanted to tell me more about it.
On the day Enrique was hired it was a particularly bad weather day in Denver with the snow flying and rapidly accumulating. Enrique had procured an old beat up bicycle and would load it onto the bus rack each morning and head off for search. On the day of his success he was making the rounds in a warehouse district off of Interstate 70 and Pecos – peddling his bike through the snow and cold – stopping at small and large warehouses cold calling for any position they might have.
Enrique had been doing this for several days without success but was not losing heart. He decided he would make one final stop for the day as the snow was getting very deep. He entered a warehouse where he located the dock manager and inquired about employment. The manager extended an apology but told Enrique they simply were not hiring. He thanked the manager and left his phone number then headed outside into the blowing snow where he remounted his bike – put his head down into the wind and began to peddle towards the bus stop.
Before he got more than a 20 or so feet from the warehouse he heard a voice yelling at him. Enrique looked over his shoulder and could see the manager waving him back. “Is that how you look for a job in this weather?” the manager asked. Enrique replied that the bike was how he searched for a job no matter what the weather.
“Come on in” the manager said. “You are just the kind of person I want working for me. You have a job here if you want it.”
Enrique took the job and performed well but more important proud at what he was accomplishing and what the possibilities were for a new future. Enrique was so happy and so very proud and this is what I love about being associated with CEO.
Not every story at CEO is a success story. But because of the support we receive, the great staff at CEO, wonderful volunteers and more – there are many inspiring success stories such as Enrique’s that make it all worth while.”