Roberta Machin, BA
The Community Action Association of Pennsylvania acknowledges the determination and exceptional accomplishments of those who have persevered through financial and personal hardship by presenting these individuals with Self-Sufficiency Awards. Among the 22 award recipients recognized during the 20th annual award ceremony, three of these individuals were nominated by the Chester County Department of Community Development: Angela Bush, Cecelia Jackson, and Susan Jones.
In April of 2016, Angela called Home of the Sparrow because she was having trouble paying for all of her household expenses. There, she learned about the Supportive Housing Program, a rental assistance program for single working women. Extremely hardworking and motivated to improve life for herself and her daughter, Angela was accepted into the program on May 1st. After expressing a need for clothing, Angela was connected to Wings for Success, a local nonprofit that provides work attire for women. She was also able to receive clothing for her daughter from Cradles to Crayons. During her time in the Supportive Housing Program, Angela managed to increase her income by finding another job, eliminate a good portion of her debt, get her daughter into a private school, and she was also accepted into a local community college so that she could pursue a degree in nursing. Her hard work and determination have allowed her to successfully reach her goal of becoming self-sufficient, and Angela says that she “doesn’t know how she would have made it this far without the care and support from Home of the Sparrow.”
Cecelia struggled for years to find a safe and comfortable home for her and her four children. In 2009, she moved with her family into Gateway Shelter. While there, she tried to obtain Section 8 housing assistance, but was turned down. After some hard work and persistence, Cecelia moved into 532 Supported Housing and found employment using her Certified Nursing Assistant certification. During this time, Cecelia was accepted into the Bridge of Hope program. Through the help of the Bridge of Hope mentors and their childcare assistance, Cecelia was able to begin setting goals and becoming more financially stable. In 2011, Cecelia and her family moved into a CYWA apartment, where she was able to connect with additional professional development opportunities. In 2014, Cecelia got married, and in 2016, Cecelia and her husband bought their very first home together. She has worked at Simpson Meadows Retirement Community for years, and her next big goal is to earn her Registered Nurse License and begin working with infants.
After getting laid off from a job she’d held for 10 years, Susan came to the Work Ready program. There, she learned about Platform to Employment, a program that assists those who have been unemployed for 20 weeks or longer to return to the workforce by providing career development tools, workshops, and job search strategies. Susan applied to the program and was one of the 20 applicants out of 100 who were selected. During the program, Susan was able to build up her self-esteem, learn about interviewing, enhance her resume, and speak with several mentors. Currently, she is taking classes to become a Certified Youth Mental Health First Aider, and attending De-escalation and Safety Training. After much hard work, Susan obtained a full time job as a Case Worker for Devereux, where she is able to help those in need. Susan said, “The staff at DCD has been completely supportive with my efforts to get back into the workforce. They have all provided me with various training classes, tools to get where I need to be, workshops, and assisted with my housing which has been extremely helpful. The support level has been outstanding.”
Congratulations to all the recipients of the 2017 CAAP Self-Sufficiency Awards!