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Lauren

My job title is Individual Development Specialist, a combination of a job coach and case manager. I have been in this position since September 2011.

My work involves providing career coaching and generalized case management services for individuals who have just become employed to ensure progress is made towards economic self-sufficiency. I also work to make sure that any newly employed issues and concerns are met with one-on-one assistance. I work with these individuals for 12 months, until they are celebrated in our organization for their one year retention on the job.

What I like about my job is having the opportunity to see people transform and socially climb right before my eyes. From assisting a young mother with her entrance into college (as the first member of her entire family to do so and thus beginning a legacy) to watching an individual reach a year in their recovery and obtain their first job in ten years--these are all scenarios that bring me great joy.

In the future, I would like to take my workforce development and direct service experience and work primarily with a formerly incarcerated population. At the heart of many challenges to employment is the red tape entanglement for individuals who may have made mistakes many years ago and are unable to make a positive impact on society through the social framework we have in this country that is established primarily upon employment. I'm interested in the policy-oriented side of it and the idea of lobbying on a legislative level, but I am also interested in advocacy and working with corporate employment partners in the scope of educating (and debunking) on topics like types of offenses, recidivism, and the abilities and talents inherent to the formerly incarcerated population.

Organization

The Cara ProgramThe Cara Program
The Cara Program prepares and inspires motivated individuals to break the cycles of homelessness and poverty, transform their lives, strengthen our communities, and forge paths to real and lasting success. Since 1991, The Cara Program has placed more than 3,000 individuals into full-time,… More

Needs validated

Working, parenting & about to attend college; need laptop for my schoolwork

Member: Mary (Chicago, IL)
Validator: Lauren, The Cara Program

Managing a schedule of work, school, and being a mom is going to be hard, but my study time could be taken with me if I have a laptop computer. More

$610of $610

Need funded!

4 supporters
Funded on 9/24/2012

Furniture to make my first apartment since recovery feel like a home

Member: Kena (Chicago, IL)
Validator: Lauren, The Cara Program

I need a new bed set to help transition from a recovery home to my new apartment. This will help me save money as I make up for lost time. More

$505of $505

Need funded!

10 supporters
Funded on 6/19/2013

I'm working on job readiness and I need a driver's license to increase my opportunities

Member: Jackie (Chicago, IL)
Validator: Lauren, The Cara Program

I have years of work experience and being able to drive will open up additional career opportunities for me. My expired license is holding me back. More

$35of $35

Need funded!

1 supporter
Funded on 6/26/2013

I'm newly employed, out of the shelter, & in my own apartment! I need a bed for my son.

Member: Kris (Chicago, IL)
Validator: Lauren, The Cara Program

My teenage son and I just moved into a one-bedroom apartment and he needs a bed. He is on the honor roll and needs a comfortable place to sleep. More

$560of $560

Need funded!

2 supporters
Funded on 11/1/2013

I'm free from a violent relationship. Now my son and I need furniture as we rebuild our lives

Member: Amanda (Chicago, IL)
Validator: Lauren, The Cara Program

My son's outgrown his crib, & I need a small couch. I left everything behind when I left domestic violence, so these items will help as I rebuild. More

$530of $530

Need funded!

14 supporters
Funded on 12/7/2013

I'm a mother ready to take the GED and all I need is the registration fee!

Member: Pat (Chicago, IL)
Validator: Lauren, The Cara Program

My kids promised me that they would give me their high school diplomas, and they did. Now it's time for me to give that promise back! More

$60of $60

Need funded!

3 supporters
Funded on 10/1/2013

In an entry-level job but want to become a manager. I need a laptop to improve my skills.

Member: Leslie (Chicago, IL)
Validator: Lauren, The Cara Program

A laptop will improve my computer competency & increase my chances of getting a promotion. I could also use it to help my son with his homework. More

$560of $560

Need funded!

6 supporters
Funded on 12/29/2013

I'm supporting my grandma on a minimum wage job. I need textbooks to further my career

Member: Richard (Chicago, IL)
Validator: Lauren, The Cara Program

I need two textbooks for a class towards my associates' degree in paralegal studies. I want to make a career change & improve my living situation. More

$330of $330

Need funded!

5 supporters
Funded on 11/6/2013

I finally hit my stride and got my own apartment; I need sheets & cooking utensils to keep moving

Member: Brittany (Chicago, IL)
Validator: Lauren, The Cara Program

I need a bed and sheet set and pots and pans for my new SRO unit! Meeting this need will help me get my savings back up to what it was. More

$125of $115

Need funded!

4 supporters
Funded on 11/5/2013

I'm newly housed and I need basic necessities to round out my new home

Member: LaToya (Chicago, IL)
Validator: Lauren, The Cara Program

I'm on my own for the 1st time in 6 yrs! Meeting this need will help me continue moving forward, save for my education, and start 2014 w/ less stress. More

$255of $255

Need funded!

1 supporter
Funded on 12/3/2013

My husband and I need a new bed for my daughter who has outgrown her crib!

Member: Keisha (Chicago, IL)
Validator: Lauren, The Cara Program

We're moving into our first apartment, but we need a bed for our 4-year-old who's outgrown her crib. We can afford the move, just not the extra bed. More

$325of $225

Need funded!

3 supporters
Funded on 3/5/2014

I have a social work degree & I'm ready to work. I need a dental restoration to go on interviews

Member: Darrel (Chicago, IL)
Validator: Lauren, The Cara Program

I need a partial to replace missing teeth that affect my smile. This will allow me to ace interviews and get a job in my field, which is counseling. More

$425of $420

Need funded!

12 supporters
Funded on 4/4/2014

Got a job! Now I need my own tools to be on a level playing field for promotion.

Member: Denzel (Chicago, IL)
Validator: Lauren, The Cara Program

I am employed & working my way up, but need basic factory tools to stay safe & competitive for promotion in my job with a manufacturing company. More

$270of $270

Need funded!

5 supporters
Funded on 3/19/2014

I am training for a career; I need a copy of my naturalization papers to start

Member: Frank (Chicago, IL)
Validator: Lauren, The Cara Program

I want to enroll in a WIA grant-supported certification program in IT Support, but I need a copy of my naturalization certificate in order to apply. More

$385of $385

Need funded!

13 supporters
Funded on 3/2/2014

I'm aiming for college & for a promotion at work. A computer will get me there!

Member: Toni (Chicago, IL)
Validator: Lauren, The Cara Program

Getting back on my feet after homelessness! I just moved into my own place & made 90 days on the job. A computer will help me improve my tech skills. More

$245of $560

43.7500%

7 supporters
Needed by 6/15/2014

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Lauren


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