Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me!
Tyrice Gilmore recently celebrated his one-year anniversary as a resident at Project HOME’s Connelly House. But Tyrice has more than that year to celebrate. He has come a long way, entering a period of joy and accomplishment. A survivor of an abusive childhood and a period of homelessness, Tyrice is now focused on reaching his goals while managing his mental health and personal affairs.
Tyrice first got the idea to work for Project HOME’s Social Enterprise candle-making gift line from Connelly House Program Manager Joy Thomas. She encouraged him to join in order to meet more of the Project HOME community. In our weekly candle-making workshops, Project HOME residents earn income for each candle they make which pass a quality-control inspection. Candles are sold at the HOME Spun Resale Boutique, at projecthome.org/store and at pop-up sales events.
For Tyrice, candle-making was a new way to express his artistic ability in addition to his love of collage and writing short stories. According to Tyrice, working as a candlemaker for Social Enterprise has helped him to adjust to being around other people, practice keeping appointments and being on time, take pride in making quality work, and take direction from a supervisor. After working in the candle workshop, Social Enterprise Art Program Coordinator Rachel Ehrgood, suggested Tyrice apply for the Employment Services Resident Internship Program . This program is a six-month paid internship opportunity that helps unemployed or under-employed individuals gain the experience required to re-enter the job market.
In March, Tyrice was accepted into the program. Until July, he will be at Project HOME as a custodial maintenance trainee. The internship is structured with 12 working hours and 3 additional hours for training on professionalism and character development each week. Some of the new things Tyrice has learned include painting a room, changing electric sockets, and learning new building techniques and terminology.
Before this internship, Tyrice had some work experience but had not maintained employment for long. He sees the internship as a stepping stone to his goal of gaining full time employment and describes Project HOME as the “best thing that has ever happened to me.” Tyrice has always had the ambition to work. Stable housing and a supportive community have made his dream of employment a reality.