Impossible is Possible!
Impossible is possible, or at least it is with Neighbor by Neighbor client, Drake. Drake is our first student to complete the GED program and pass his GED tests. Drake attended the Michigan Works! Program over several months. Neighbor by Neighbor was able to support Drake by providing him with a laptop for his coursework and connecting him with volunteer, Kip Walker. Kip facilitated getting Drake to Michigan Works (a company dedicated to developing Michigan’s work force), to get signed up and take his exams. Drake had to take a total of four tests in the areas of reasoning through language arts, science, mathematical reasoning, and social studies. He passed with flying colors! When asked about his success, Drake commented, “I felt like I did the impossible. I would have never been able to do this without Neighbor by Neighbor.” Neighbor by Neighbor is delighted to know that we made the impossible, possible for Drake. So what’s next for Drake? Mandi Somers, GED manager at Michigan Works said he is, “an amazing young man who will go far with his determination”. Kip Walker shared that Drake’s “can-do attitude” has landed him a job interview on Friday the 24th of June. Drake is also being encouraged to pursue some training in a short-term trades program at Michigan Works!
Neighbor by Neighbor welcomes new social worker, Jessica Kidwell-Saboski
Jessica Kidwell-Saboski joined the team at Neighbor by Neighbor as our new social worker. Jessica graduated from Indiana University at Bloomington, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. She comes to Neighbor by Neighbor with twenty years of social services experience. She has worked for Division of Children and Family services in Indiana as a contractor and for First Steps, a program that does early intervention with children. Jessica brings this experience, along with a love for meeting new people, and supporting others while helping them become independent. On a more personal note, Jessica has been married to her husband, Andy, for 20 years and has two children, Anna and Matthew. Their house is also slowly become “a zoo” as they have two cats, a bunny, two fish and two frogs. In her free time, she enjoys playing saxophone, writing in her journal, and watching Ghost Adventures with her son.
Client needs rise as inflation does
It is no secret that prices are rising everywhere. The cheapest gas around the New Buffalo area is about $5.09/gallon when just four months ago (Feb 2022), it was $2.41 a gallon. According to the Detroit Free Press, grocery prices have gone up 10% in the month of May – this is the highest increase in food prices since 1981. So what does this mean for Neighbor by Neighbor clients? They become more financially unstable and fall deeper and deeper into poverty. One of our clients came to our office the other day to lament that she only makes $968/month, and her rent was being raised to $1200/month, meaning she will no longer have a place to live. Client needs were also evident at the local Mobile Food Pantry. Feeding America had ordered enough food for 80 people, as that was the typical amount of people they expected – 150 people showed up. So, a good portion of people who came to the food pantry got the amount of food they received greatly reduced. Meg Smyth, our service coordinator, was picking up food for four client and was only able to get 1 box.
Neighbor by Neighbor partners with Molina Health
Neighbor by Neighbor loves when we can partner with other organizations in our community who want to do good for those in need, so when Molina Health Care Systems reached out to us and wanted to partner with Neighbor by Neighbor we were delighted. Molina Healthcare, a company that helps families choose the right healthcare plan, has given Neighbor by Neighbor a $1000 Lean on Molina grant, asking that that money to go specifically to our client needs. When asked why they were interested in partnering with Neighbor by Neighbor, Kristine Matice, senior specialist for growth and community engagement said, “The Lean on Molina Fund was created to address social determinants of health that cause barriers to people receiving needed healthcare. Molina Healthcare of Michigan is proud to work with community organizations like Neighbor by Neighbor, who are already doing the important work of supporting community members in need.” We welcome this new partnership.