“Being here has opened doors that were closed. It seems like every day another door gets opened.”
When Tristan first joined the Jobs Training program, he and his girlfriend were homeless – living in a tent in Birch Bay. They had travelled to Birch Bay with the hopes of housing and work, but their car broke down. They were stuck in Birch Bay, seemingly without a way out.
It hadn’t always been this way. Both had paying jobs and a roof over their heads. But Tristan hurt his back at work and they soon found themselves homeless without work.
When application after application went unanswered, they discovered Northwest Youth Services and WorkSource. Tristan was quickly placed at The RE Store and worked closely with Darin, our Community Jobs Program Manager, to develop an individualized work plan.
As part of Darin’s orientation process, he spends time with each trainee to get to know their career goals and histories. He then determines what transferable skills can be taught at The RE Store and what tasks trainees can start with. For trainees like Tristan, this means starting with lots of one-on-one time with Darin. When trainees are ready, they direct their goals and set their work plans for the rest of their time.
“I’m an over thinker. When I came here I was worried about making mistakes and was overall skeptical about doing tasks. I didn’t want someone to get mad at me. But people here are so supportive. Now I feel ok opening up to my coworkers and to customers. I’ve received nothing but positivity and it’s motivated me to work towards my goals.”
A few weeks after Tristan began working with us, he told Darin that he wanted to take on some larger projects. If you’ve noticed that the store has been cleaner than ever, you have Tristan to thank. He decided that he wanted to clean the store, “like a professional cleaning service”, from one end to the next. Customers and staff have been blown away by the result, and so has Tristan.
“I didn’t think I had good organizational skills, now I’m learning I do. It has been the most satisfying thing about working here, knowing what it looked like before and seeing what it looks like after. It makes me proud.”
Taking the time to organize the store has given Tristan the time and space to consider his future. He is drawn to law enforcement because of his desire to help and give back to the community. Most of all, he wants to be a positive influence to the people around him.
On December 3rd, we’re participating in Giving Tuesday. Our goal is to provide access to job training to anyone that wishes. You can help build a more resilient Bellingham by donating $25 on Giving Tuesday via Facebook. Can’t wait until December 3rd to donate? Give today.