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Keith works to find the life he’s been looking for

Meet Keith, a Cara participant who started his journey with us in February 2022 and is currently a Food Service Worker at Cabra, a MICHELIN Guide restaurant. In honor of #GivingTuesday, he shares how he is working to transform his life.

Struggling for the basics

“Before I started Cara, I was in between a lot of jobs. I mostly worked at fast food restaurants. My schedule was all over the place, and there was no routine in my life. Some weeks I would have lots of hours, and then other weeks they would cut people short, so I’d make no money. I had no stability or guarantee of a steady income.

“I couldn’t afford the simple necessities, like food and even undergarments. I didn’t have housing, and was staying with a friend. If I’m struggling to get the basics, I knew I was in a place where I really needed to find help.

Trying something new

“I found Cara through a friend. When I got there, I didn’t know what to expect, I just knew I needed a job. I stayed the course, and realized how much everyone is geared towards helping one another. It was nice to have the community of participants with me. Cara is different because they recognize that a lot of us are in situations that prevent us from finding a job. It was all one big wake-up call.

“A lot of programs just put you in a job. They send you off with paperwork and don’t give you much guidance. You interview at places and don’t hear back, but that wasn’t my experience working with the team at Cara. The people actually stick by you, even if you’re struggling. Because of our situations, a lot of participants come in really hot and hard headed. Instead of kicking us out if we mess up, Cara gives you another chance because they know you’re trying to get back on your feet.

“Finding this position at Cabra has been a game changer. I have control over my hours now, benefits, and I’m respected as an employee. A lot of places I used to work at didn’t show me any loyalty. It’s not the same here.”

“Cara is different because they recognize that a lot of us are in situations that prevent us from finding a job. It was all one big wake up call.”

More to be done

“If I’m being honest, there is a lot more progress to be done. I need to get custody of my kids, and move up the ladder to better positions. But I’m in a spot now where I can finally take the next step in that direction.

“If I keep putting in the work here, people around me will see that. The restaurant industry is well-connected and lucrative, and if I keep networking, I know something will work out for me. I’m just going to stick with what I’m doing, keep making contacts and connections, and working hard.

“I’m now able to support myself, and I even got my own place. I’m just happy to be in a comfortable position, and to finally have more stability.”

This season, your support of Cara Collective is critical to furthering our mission of eradicating poverty and increasing access, equity, and opportunity. Please consider making a financial gift this #GivingTuesday to support job seekers like Keith. Thank you for your support!