Los Angeles, CA – Alvin Green, 32, a real estate appraiser, saw the writing on the wall when the troubled housing market went belly up. The market got slow and I found myself out of work, admitted Green. I was looking for some type of training to sustain me through the (financial) drought.
Luckily, Green was a member of St. Luke Restoration Christian Center at 6077 Normandie Ave. in Los Angeles and heard about Second Chance, the churchs nonprofit program that offered job skills training, professional development and education. I took the computer training program and learned basic skills like Powerpoint, Excel, and how to use e-mail properly. I took a basic English and grammar course as well.
Green said he found the training invaluable and that the program is excellent. I think its a great program for someone who is between jobs or looking for work, said Green. There are only about 7 to 10 students in the class, so you get individualized attention, which helped tremendously.
Second Chance is the brainchild of St. Lukes pastor Stephen Pollard. Troubled by the fact that he was encountering so many South Los Angeles residents who lacked job skills or education, he founded Second Chance to give residents a hand up to provide job and educational opportunities.
We are trying to rebuild lives and plant seeds of success, said Pollard, who after conquering a life of drug and alcohol addiction turned his life over to God and became a pastor. Since starting the program, weve helped dozens of people go back to school and find jobs.
Karen Morgan, executive director of Second Chance, said that Pollard approached her about his vision of starting the program about two years ago. He basically told me about the assistance programs that he wanted to start, recalls Morgan, who said that her marketing and grant writing background was invaluable in getting the program up and running.
We started with borrowed space in the church and forty-four dollars, Morgan recalled. To generate money, we launched a campaign called Dollar in Your Backyard, where we comb the community and ask residents to donate a dollar to our program. We let them know that theres crime and poverty in their back yard, and by donating that dollar, it will assist someone in their community who needs their help.
Morgan also appealed to public and city coffers for donations. The city provided us with computers and Councilman Bernard Parks gave us a check to purchase office supplies, said Morgan.
The program offers workplace dress etiquette and hygiene, resume writing, computer rebuilding, computer operation, painting and electrical maintenance training.
Second Chance also offers a tutoring program on Saturdays, preparation for college courses for high school students and GED Test Preparation.
Morgan said that most of the enrollees hear about the program through word of mouth. They must be drug and alcohol free and must attend an orientation, said Morgan when asked about requirements for the program.
And for those who may need a little extra help between jobs, participants can seek assistance by applying for the Anthony and Angela Boardwill fund. Its a stipend we give to people who are just starting work and need a little extra help to get over the hump, said Morgan. If they need a gas card, groceries, or even a place to live, Second Chance can help.
Impressed with Second Chances work with the community, Thrive Financial Alliance has been assisting Second Chance with funding.
Thrive Financial Alliance recently sponsored Second Chance charitable Spirit of Giving Event and helped to feed 400 families with Christmas dinner and distributed over 500 toys to children. Residents were also provided with free toiletries, clothing and prizes.
To contact Second Chance, call (323) 541-1213.