Employment Services | Project HOME

Employment Services

On a beautiful afternoon in mid-July, eleven remarkable men and women were celebrated for graduating from PECO/Excelon Employment Program.  All of them were veterans of the U.S. military, including representatives from all four branches of the service – army, navy, marine corps, and air force.  Also, all of them had worked hard to overcome experiences of homelessness.

 

From the Philadelphia Inquirer

Last Christmas, Ruben Rivera slept in the backseat of his father's pickup truck in Kensington with nothing to keep him warm but the heroin in his pocket.

If his father had found him tucked away in his truck in the Christmastime cold, Ruben does not think he would have invited him inside. That goodwill had long ago disappeared. Ruben doesn't blame him.

 

Project HOME’s Employment Services celebrated Veterans Day with our 2nd annual gathering of graduates and our current class of veteran apprentices engaged in the PECO/ Project HOME Veteran Training Program. Attendees were from the 2009 class up to and including the current class.

There is a special bond which forms between veterans who have served their country and that is evident in these gatherings notwithstanding the small, friendly rivalries between the different branches of service.

I Am Project HOME | Alexis Pugh

This story originally appeared in our winter edition of News from HOME.

 

This story originally appeared in our winter edition of News from HOME.

Josie Nyame remembers vividly that low point of her life: “My whole world was crumbling around me.” She had been evicted from her Section 8 housing, and her four children placed with their father. Homeless, sleeping on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum and on a bench in Logan Square, she knew she had to change her life.

 

Steven Reed learned some hard lessons while living on the street for nearly 25 years.

But now Steven, a teacher by training and temperment, is working to convey those lessons to a new generation of Philadelphians as a tutor at our Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs (HLCCTL).

 

Julia Binswanger is a student at Bowdoin College who is volunteering her writing skills for Project HOME this summer. 

Fifty-one-year-old Antoine Parks is a fighter.

From 1981 to 1993 this South Philadelphia native was stationed in Iraq. There he worked in artillery and served in direct combat. In short, he risked his life for our country so that those of us at home don’t have to. Thus, one would assume that in 1993, after over ten years of service when Antoine was finally discharged, he would be done fighting.

 

Although it is a beautiful view, could you ever imagine the limbs of a pine tree being your roof and vista from the dirt floor of your home? For Kevin Weldon, this was his view as he lay underneaththe tree in Pennypack Park where he lived on and off for the last 20 years. 

Kevin’s struggle with homelessness began in 1990 when his wife left him. He started to drink, and he eventually lost his job as a police officer. He lived on the streets and did not care anymore. 

 

Betty Mills-Robinson’s story is not one of potential denied, but of potential delayed.

At 14, Mills-Robinson left her mother’s warm home, situated as it was in an otherwise difficult North Philadelphia neighborhood, and moved in with an aunt who could offer a safer environment in which to live and go to school. She took full advantage of the opportunity, zipping through high school and steadily moving up the ranks in her career with the City of Philadelphia. Not even an unexpected diagnosis of bipolar disorder, it seemed, could derail the 23-year-old’s upward trajectory.

 

Yvonne Bailey has to rise pretty early in the morning on a work day. She gets her daughter ready for school, then heads to Center City, where she is responsible for opening the HOME Page Café at the Main Branch of the Free Library on the Parkway. It takes about 45 minutes to do the inventory, set up and clean, brew the coffee and tea, get the espresso machine going, and make the Café ready by 8:30 am for the day’s first customers.

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