“Truly, it is in the darkness that one finds the light, so when we are in sorrow, then this light is nearest of all to us.” – Meister Eckhart

When it comes to employment and poverty, the two have been proven to go hand-in-hand. In fact, of those walking into Catholic Charities over 70% are unemployed. Many times, unemployment sends a person into poverty.

It may be one of the biggest obstacles to overcoming poverty, but employment is often unimaginable when the basics of housing and food are lacking. Once these emergency needs are met, employment can be addressed.

We take several approaches to bring clients out of darkness. By providing services, tools, and strategies tailored to meet the client where they are in life
and at the time that they walk through the doors of Catholic Charities Kansas City-St. Joseph.

We use the ACE approach (Acceptance, Content, Education). We encourage clients to Accept where they are currently in life, with dignity and respect, in a non-judgmental fashion. We also provide Content, full of essential tools designed to help someone obtain and retain employment. Lastly, Education explains why the tools and resources taught in class go beyond the employee/employer relationship and are useful for family relationships as well.

Topics such as effective communication strategies and conflict resolution help to foster healthy relationships and encourage stability with regards to mental health. These various soft skills, taught

during our employment classes, help clients navigate the darker spaces in life, giving hope to secure a better future.

Over the past year, the Coronavirus Pandemic has forced a different type of client to reach out to the Employment Services staff here at Catholic Charities Kansas City-Saint Joseph. Prior to the Coronavirus, the clients we served were often unemployed or under employed.

Now, the clients we serve come from various backgrounds, such as the client who has been employed at the same company for over 15 years, the client whose job was closed permanently, or the client who lost their job of only one month. This shift in clientele proves that life can take a sudden turn at any given time.

While employment is often something addressed after finding secure housing and basic needs, it
can be an exciting and hopeful process. At this point, clients can begin tackling deeper issues and heartaches and increase their self-esteem and ability to self-advocate. For many, employment is a pivotal aspect of leaving the darkness and turning toward the light.

For more information on our Employment Services, please contact Dionne at dblake@ccharities.com or (816) 659-8258.

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