Building Confidence and Brighter Futures Through NVFS' Workforce Development Programs
Crystal Farrington isn’t afraid to work. In fact, she worked at a dry cleaning company for seven years and increased her salary by 50 percent in that time. The problem is that going from $8 per hour to $12 per hour still leaves you living in poverty. In trying to make ends meet, Crystal went to social services in spring 2013. She and some family members were living in a hotel on Route 1 at the time. She was told that she didn’t qualify for much because her income was too high. However, she noticed a sign about the Vehicles for Change (VFC) program, which led her to NVFS. As the NVFS caseworker helped Crystal get an affordable vehicle to get to and from work, she saw something in Crystal: a drive and tenacity. She told her, “You are supposed to do something much greater Crystal.” The caseworker told her about the Training Futures program. Just weeks later, Crystal’s mother died of pancreatic cancer. Crystal said that she felt as if her VFC caseworker took her under her wings and let her cry on her shoulder. She also encouraged her again to apply for Training Futures and in October 2013, Crystal began the Training Futures (TF) program. TF is an intense program which required that Crystal reduce her hours at Presto. Resourcefully, she found another nonprofit to assist her with affordable housing which required that she pay a very modest stipend enabling her to focus on the TF program. “It amazed me that a stranger could have more faith in me than I did in myself,” shared Crystal. In March 2014, Crystal graduated from Training Futures and was even selected by her classmates as a keynote speaker. She said that the program gave her confidence and purpose. It also landed her a job! Crystal is now a concierge in an office building in downtown DC. She is the “go-to person” for 12 businesses covering administrative tasks and distributing weekly events. Her job is to say abreast of all that is happening in the city. With regular business hours, a $35,000 salary and benefits, Crystal sees a bright future for herself and her children. Having grown up poor, Crystal is proud to shout out to the world, “I’m above the poverty line!” NVFS is changing families and changing futures.