2012 Was a Year of Gains, Surprises and Progress

By Angelo Anderson

I work at 2100 Lakeside, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry a Men’s Shelter as Job Readiness Program and GED Program Coordinator.  Over the past year, I have seen gains, surprises and progress.  Our GED program is continuing to grow and provide opportunities for the men to obtain their GED and for many to go on to higher education.  Most begin their journey having dropped out at the junior high school level.  Some have ADHD or other diagnosed disabilities that hamper their ability to read.  However, as the success of the program continues to grow and word gets out we are seeing more men attempt the process despite huge obstacles.  We had approximately 110 enroll in the program, of that, 15 seriously continue classes and four successfully graduated to obtain their GED.  We have to thank the Corporation for National Service AmeriCorps program, Cuyahoga Community College, Literacy Co-Op, Farrell Inc., L.E.A.D. Institute for all the help making this program work.  We have to especially thank the large contributions from our anonymous donors and countless volunteers for this programs continued success.

Our Job Readiness program has seen a steady growth of participants, volunteers, new partnership and increased interest from potential employers.  With the current economic status, we continually adjust our job search methods to stay in pace with employer needs.  This means teaching program participants to create eye-catching comprehensive resumes, bolstering interviewing skills and reinforcing professionalism.  Our greatest success in 2012 came with the SEEDS program; a partnership with Block by Block and the Downtown Cleveland Alliance.  The SEEDS program provided employment for fifteen 2100 Lakeside residents where they created and maintain green spaces in downtown Cleveland.  This program is a re-entry to the workforce for participants in a non-traditional and relaxed environment; giving them an opportunity to develop positive work ethics and leadership skills.  Eleven of the participants went on to permanent employment at Block by Block and elsewhere, two returned to college to obtain their degrees.

Defusing the myths of homelessness is an ongoing effort.  In 2012 we reached out to more diverse groups in effort to educate them to the face and challenges of homelessness.  Religious organizations, colleges, high schools, civic groups, fraternities and sororities to name a few have learned plight of homelessness.  As a result many groups have taken an active interest in the work we’re doing at 2100 Lakeside.  We have received numerous donations and volunteers; creating a network of willing individuals that can called upon a moment’s notice.

Thank you Cleveland!

Copyright Cleveland Street Chronicle Cleveland, Ohio January 2013