Mahogany and her 1-year-old son Daniel had been bouncing between hotels and shelter programs, and the homes of friends and family. But with winter approaching, Mahogany knew things couldn’t go on that way.
“I knew I needed somewhere for my baby to rest his head,” she says. “I needed to get into a transitional program where I didn’t have to worry about leaving and being out in the cold with my baby at 6 a.m. It’s a very bad feeling to not have somewhere stable for him. It was at that point where I got tired of going from place to place.”
Mahogany and Daniel were on the Steadfast House waiting list for four months before space opened up. They settled in and began working on a plan with their case manager. Mahogany has an associate’s degree in early childhood, but assault charges on her record have made it unlikely she would find employment in that field. Her case manager brought up ABCCM’s culinary program with A-B Tech. Mahogany loves to cook – in fact, she has prepared dinner several times for her housemates – and she signed up.
“I’m ecstatic. I’m ready to be walking around with my book and my chef’s knives every day,” said Mahogany, who spent her teenage years in the foster care system. “I am proud of myself, and here, I’m the happiest I’ve been in a while. I have people who support me and they’re happy for me and in my corner.”
Funding for civilian women such as Mahogany to participate in employment training programs like the culinary training program has been supported by the Walmart Foundation, which recently recognized the work being done at Steadfast House to help our women on the road to self-sustainability.
ABCCM was recently named the recipient of a $50,000 state grant from the Walmart Foundation and the North Carolina State Giving Advisory Council through the State Giving Program.
This funding has allowed ABCCM to expand the Transitional Workforce Investment Program (TWIP) already in place for male veterans at our Veterans Restoration Quarters, female veterans at Steadfast House, and veterans served through our Veterans Services of the Carolinas (VSC). The expanded program will now include around 50 civilians, most of whom are female civilian residents of Steadfast House. About half of these women are survivors of domestic violence and/or single mothers like Mahogany who are transitioning into permanent housing and job placements. Training through TWIP leads to career tracks and jobs that pay a living wage.