COMMUNITY PARTNERS IN DURHAM, NC
Community Empowerment Fund: CEF offers savings opportunities, financial education, and assertive support to individuals who are seeking employment, housing, and financial freedom. The opportunities for employment and greater housing that CEF advances motivate participants to build personal assets, gain higher income, engage in a healthy community, and sustain transitions out of poverty.
Durham Economic Resource Center: DERC is a nonprofit organization that was started five years ago with the mission of “providing workforce development skills, job placement, and the elimination of employment barriers for our clients through facilitated supportive collaborations”. DERC aims to address the root causes of poverty in Durham through strategies that are both community-based and need based.
Durham Office of Workforce and Economic Development: Within the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), most of us DukeEngage students are working with James Dickens, the program coordinator for the Durham YouthWork Internship Program. This program offers Durham youth aged 14-21 the opportunity to gain work experience and develop skills during the summer, in various businesses around the City of Durham. Last summer, Durham youth were placed in government offices, with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, at N.C. Central and Duke University, with the design consulting firm Kimley-Horn and Associates, and at other offices. When we arrived at OEWD, hundreds of applications had already been reviewed, and 90 students had been selected for the 2014 program.
Threshold: Threshold is an organization that works with people with severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, and major depression to help them “stay out of the hospital, succeed at work, advance their education, and reach their goals”, so that they can integrate back into the community. Logistically, this is done through a Transitional Employment program, where Threshold works with various employers, such as the restaurant Angus Barn, to set up six month placements. This ensures that people have consistent and stable work experience that can expand their resume and increase their chances of employment. However, on a day to day basis, Threshold runs like any clubhouse. This is done through four units: the kitchen, the snack bar, member services, and clerical, respectively taking care of tasks including serving food, completing employment-related paperwork, organizing the clothing thrift store, maintaining the reception desk, answering phones, distributing mail, cleaning up the building, and so on.
Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers: TROSA is an organization dedicated to rehabilitating substance abusers through long term care, education, and tangible work experience.