Woman on the road to getting her life back

Posted On: January 2, 2014

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GREENVILLE – Two months ago, Katie Smallwood had nowhere to go, and it seemed like, no one to help her. This week, she has a job and is hoping to be able to move into a small apartment with her husband, working towards a larger home for them and their three children.

AR-312289992“Currently, my kids are staying with my mom until I can get on my feet,” Smallwood stated. “My husband and I had nowhere to go…I was living in Dayton in abandoned buildings, or wherever I could lay my head. I would eat at churches, I would go to churches to get clothing…I couldn’t stay with my mom, she already had too many in people staying in her house…”

Katie’s husband began staying with a friend’s mom, and went to Dayton to get her.

“We stayed in his car for a little while, until his friend’s mom met me and invited me to stay with her, too,” Katie said. “Dixie has really helped me get on my feet.”

But Dixie Copp, the woman who took the Smallwoods in, isn’t the only reason Katie and her husband are on their way back to living as a family again, Katie said. She went to the Job Center to look for work, where she was told about the adult training classes being offered at the Greenville High School Career Technical Education Center (CTEC).

“Dixie knew (the CTEC director), and she explained to him that I was homeless, and wanted to see about geting me in the program,” Katie said. “I had no money to pay…Mr. Peltz said I could go back to the Job Center and fill out paperwork to have the class paid for, but when I went back, they didn’t know what I was talking about. Mr. Peltz said not to worry about it, and I went ahead and took the class and was never asked to pay a penny.”

Through Partnering for Progress (P4P), programs like the adult STNA training are offered at low or no cost, said Marc Saluk. Whether that’s a partnership between P4P and Greenville CTEC, or P4P and Job and Family Services, it’s beneficial for the entire community, creating a viable workforce, and more opportunities for individuals, said Saluk.

“These low or no-cost training opportunities are really having an impact by creating career opportunities for individuals who previously faced challenges in that area. As the effort grows, it can continue to provide our citizens with the chance for long-term careers and fulfilling lives,” Saluk commented.

“All this while providing our employers the workforce they need to keep the local economy strong. And with all hands on deck in this effort, from the companies to all of our schools, we stand a good chance of continuing to execute this effort well and providing a long lasting impact on the county’s economy and the lives of families,” he continued. “In a very real way, the workforce effort may end up being the most important thing the partnership ever does.”

Katie passed her state test and is now working as an STNA at the Darke County Home, she said, but would like to move to a long-term care facility where she can utilize the skills she’s learned through the adult STNA training. She would also like to go on to be a registered nurse, which will require her to continue her education further, she said.

“[This class] really helped me get back on my feet, to save money…If it weren’t for this class, I’d probably be working at a fast food restaurant or in retail, not making what I’m making…” Katie stated. “I was able to buy Christmas for my kids this year. I’m hoping my husband and I can move into an efficiency soon.”

According to the adult STNA program supervisor, Emily Powers, she worked hard to earn her STNA certification and she and STNA program teacher Stephanie Lind were “very honored to help her move forward in her life.”

“I think (the adult STNA program) was great for her, and she’s doing an excellent job here at the home,” said Katie’s supervisor at the Darke County Home.