Hope.Starts.Here. An Employee Spotlight Series

At Operation New Hope, our team is extremely passionate about the work we do every day to help our clients and to strengthen our community. Hope truly powers us to show up and do the work and fuels us to serve the people hoping to transform their lives through employment. To better understand this, we around to four of our department heads and asked them “How does working here give you hope?”

Our first stop was with Cindy, the Case Manager Supervisor for our Ready4Work program. In her words, Case Managers are “the glue that hold everything together when our clients come in.” Case Management at Operation New Hope is vital for meeting our client’s basic needs, everything from food to housing, and essential for ensuring our client’s well-being after they graduate from our program. When we asked Cindy how working at ONH gives her hope she said, “Just being able to see the successes even though they may be far in between but being able to see the success after so many years of incarceration. That is, right there, the most rewarding thing, and knowing that you were a part of that in some way or another.”

After learning more about our Case Managers, we visited Melani, the Director of Workforce Development. Melani has been a part of Operation New Hope for over 20 years, starting as a cold caller and working her way up to now serving on our Leadership team! Our job coaches sit down with out clients to learn more about their educational background and job experience to then find an ideal employment placement.

Melani uses the work she does at ONH to continue to be a pillar of hope for someone once they graduate from our program and get placed in a new job. When we asked Melani how working at ONH gives her hope she said, “I saw people who were good people but just made a bad decision. So, learning this population has really taught me to not judge people, and to realize that these are humans who have real deal problems. I can be a real pillar of change to someone else and work in a way that what I do helps determine their success.”

From there we stopped in with Corvus, our Ready4Realease Program Manager who oversees the team of Case Managers delivering pre-release services to 17 facilities in Florida. These services include building relationships with clients, creating an individualized release plan, and performing monthly follow-ups until that client is released. Corvus and his team work to bridge the reentry divide to ensure adequate housing, transportation , and job training. When we asked Corvus how working at ONH gives him hope he said, “It allows me and others to be able to provide chances and opportunities for people coming out so that they don’t recidivate. Something like this, having housing, employment, substance abuse support all in one building, you really can’t beat it. Quite frankly I don’t see why people decline it.”

Our last stop was with Gretchen, our Ready4Work Program Director. Gretchen leads a team of Case Managers, Mental Health Counselors, and Workforce Training Instructors, to ensure the successful delivery of our nationally recognized Ready4Work program. When asked about her favorite parts of this job, Gretchen mentioned

Orientation and Graduation where she can make those personal connections with our clients at the beginning and the end of their journeys here at ONH. When we asked Gretchen how working at ONH gives her hope she said, “I am fueled by meeting the clients and seeing them come in, excited to get started. That personal connection that I make with them is the hope that fuels me throughout the week. I can’t fit it in my day but if I could work with clients all day long, or just 10 minutes, I’m happy.”

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