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One City's Work Life Program Returns Self-worth and Jobs to Graduates

"We've been able to rebuild who we were and regain who we are. Thank you," said a recent graduate of the Work Life program UWSEMO supports at One City.

House in a beautifully renovated white brick building with an eye-catching yellow door at 610 Independence in Cape, One City is a relatively new nonprofit of only two years. The building supports a dance class, occasional community events, and the Work Life program, which brings employment and dignity to its graduates.

On October 17th, One City held their Work Life Graduation and thanked United Way donors for contributing to the success of the Work Life program and, more importantly, to the success of its graduates. Christina Cheek started as the program coordinator in early August just as a new class of participants began their journey. The class met every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 AM –12 PM, frequently leaving with homework and accumulating 40+ hours of curriculum in six weeks. Participants cover a broad age span, and many have been unemployed for years.

What is extremely unique about Work Life is their curriculum; they do not start with interviews or resume building but something deeper. They begin with balance. They talk about what it takes to know who you are before you can go out and give others what you have to offer. Balance in life is compared to a house--there is a foundation with walls that hold you up as an individual. The foundation of the Work Life program is God, followed by your relationship with yourself, others, and your Work Life. If you can find a balance between these four relationships, then you are preparing yourself for greater success in life.

 Work Life students discuss how mistakes from their past have destroyed their house. In some cases, it was not even their own mistakes but the environment they were raised in or people they let into their lives. The students accept their mistakes as they embrace their self-worth and the gifts they have to offer. All of the graduates have found jobs and are proud of the work and talent they are able to contribute.

United Way of Southeast Missouri is proud to be part of a program that is lifting people up in such an amazing way. We believe in their mission and can’t wait to see what they and their graduates do next! 

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