monica’s story

Between her baby being born premature, struggling to pay for the baby’s food, and her insurance being denied, Monica was really struggling and felt very hopeless. “I had to turn to WIC for help, and behold it was a turning point for me and my family,” she said. WIC is a program for pregnant and postpartum women that need supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for them and their little ones. The people Monica worked with at the WIC office, especially Chandra and Rose, provided her not only the supplemental support she needed, but emotional support as well. “Chandra made me feel at ease with her compassionate soul…she made me so happy and her smiles were so encouraging and every nutritional support and advice I needed was met” According to Monica, Rose made sure Monica got everything she needed each month at her WIC appointments as well. Monica…

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bridgette’s story

In March 2013, Bridgette, a single parent to a 2-year-old daughter, came to Blueprints seeking safe housing and reliable transportation. Though Bridgette grew up in Allegheny County, she had dropped out of high school before graduation. She took courses online, but ultimately, her goal was to return to high school to obtain her diploma.  After her caseworker Anna helped her gather her transcripts and arrange a meeting with local school officials, the superintendent advised her to complete classes and obtain her GED instead of returning to school full time. Bridgette was initially reluctant, but agreed. Bridgette enrolled in Blueprints’ Work Ready program and began attending GED classes. In addition to working on readiness skills for the workplace and securing safe housing, she studied for her GED test and her driver’s permit test. Bridgette earned her permit on July 9, 2013. Unfortunately, due to a car accident, she left the program…

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shawn e’s story

Shawn E. overcame many obstacles before he came to Blueprints. After recovering from addiction, he experienced a period of homelessness. He had lost his job and had spent some time in the City Mission. He had found a new job, but lived out of his car some days. Seeking rental assistance, Shawn was able to sign a lease for an apartment in Washington. Blueprints agreed to pay for his first month’s rent, security deposit, and incrementally decreasing partial rent for one if Shawn would participate in Blueprints’ programming for long-term rental assistance and budget coaching for one year.   Shawn was excited for this new endeavor. The first time that he attended budget coaching, he stated, “You guys have an adopted son now.” Saving money for an emergency fund with the additional goal of purchasing a home in the future was a relatively new concept for him. Shawn consistently attended…

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ricky’s story

Richard, or Ricky, as he prefers to be called, was a high school senior who wanted to build his future. He originally enrolled in Blueprints’ Work Based Learning Experiences (WBLE) program, which Blueprints offers in partnership with The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. Work Based Learning Experiences are designed to assist 14-21 year old high school students with disabilities with 90-hour paid placements with local employers in the community.  The students receive valuable work experience, along with an hourly stipend and realize their potential to succeed upon high school graduation. Ricky worked closely with his caseworker Lee as they searched for a positive placement.  Eventually, they located a local contracting company that was willing to participate in the program and accepted Ricky as a general laborer.  Ricky worked there until the summer came to an end and his services were no longer needed.  Because Ricky still had remaining hours to successfully…

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lenora’s story

Lenora overcame significant hardships in her life before she came to Blueprints. Though she hails from Beaver County, Lenora has lived in Washington since 2010.  After undergoing treatment for her addiction at Greenbrier Treatment Center, she was referred to Blueprints. “I was in a relationship that ended with domestic violence,” she said. “I thought about moving, but there’s a lot of help in Washington.” Fresh Start, a program run by Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern Pennsylvania, helped Lenora move into safe, stable Section 8 housing. Lenora then enrolled in Blueprints’ Getting Ahead program. “I learned a lot in Getting Ahead and enjoyed the support,” she said. “It started my motivation to change my life. I got a lot of input in many different areas. Then, I just stepped into it and into helping myself with my past.” Lenora appreciated the strong support network within Blueprints. In addition to Hilary, who…

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william’s story

Though he is only five years old, William has seen a lot before he became involved with Blueprints. Parental substance abuse brought William into Blueprints’ Foster Care program in March 2017. He was placed with his paternal grandparents, Melanie and John W. Though they did their best to help William adjust to his new home, the first four months were rocky. When William’s grandparents started feeling overwhelmed, they called Blueprints. Stacey, a Blueprints’ caseworker, visited their home and helped William’s grandparents work through their emotions. Stacey worked with Washington County’s Children and Youth Services to secure a behavioral specialist to help William with his trauma and problematic behaviors. Within a month, William made tremendous progress. Melanie and John formed a tight bond with him. As time passed, they decided William needed to be a permanent member of their family and successfully adopted him.  On April 27, 2018, William found his…

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jamie’s story

In July 2016, Jamie and her family welcomed the arrival of their second child, a baby boy weighing less than 2 pounds. Because he was born prematurely, he spent 48 days in the NICU, fighting for his life. This was an incredibly stressful and scary time for Jamie and her family, but happily, she was able to bring him home in September. According to Jamie, one of the biggest blessings that helped her through the ordeal was the Blueprints WIC program. WIC provides breastfeeding support, nutrition education, supplemental foods, and health care referrals for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, and to infants and children until the age of five. Like many people who come through Blueprints’ door, Jamie’s knowledge of WIC was limited. “I was nervous for our initial appointment because I was afraid the staff at the WIC office would be cold, unfriendly or even mean. I could…

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rashaia’s story

Rashaia had a lot on her plate when she came to Blueprints in March 2017. Not only was she the single mother of a one-year-old daughter, but her son was due in July and she was having some minor health issues with her pregnancy. She had no driver’s license, no high school diploma, past debts and no childcare for her daughter. Rashia was completely unmotivated to make any changes. She admits now that she was very angry that she was referred to Blueprints for its Work Ready program. “I tried everything to try to get out of attending,” she said. Once Blueprints helped coordinate daycare for her daughter, she had no choice but to attend the program. Once she began Work Ready, Rashia was also enrolled in Blueprints’ Adult Education program. She also attended driver’s preparation practice and participated in community service projects. With the assistance of her Adult Education…

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mark’s story

Mark V. always struggled with managing his money before he came to Blueprints. If he could give any advice to his younger self, it would be to save part of his income when he was a truck driver. When he lost his job as a truck driver, Mark had nothing to his name.  He became involved in criminal activities and was incarcerated for nine months. After his release, he was living at the City Mission’s homeless shelter when he came to Blueprints for help with getting an apartment. Mark participated in Blueprints’ Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program funded by Washington County Human Services through the PA Department of Community & Economic Development.  Through ESG, some homeless clients can have their rent and/or utilities paid for them as they work towards housing self-sufficiency. While Blueprints was able to pay Mark’s rent, Mark would deposit the amount that would normally go toward…

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brent’s story

Brent, a local high school student, wanted to build his future. His OVR transition counselor and school district referred Brent to Blueprints’ Work Based Learning Experiences (WBLE) program, which Blueprints offers in partnership with The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. Work Based Learning Experiences are designed to assist 14-21 year old high school students with disabilities with 90-hour paid placements with local employers in the community.  The students receive valuable work experience, along with an hourly stipend and realize their potential to succeed upon high school graduation. Next, Brent’s caseworker Lee, scheduled an initial appointment with Brent and his family.  When they met, Brent was willing to try any type of placement because it was going to be his first time working on his own.  Lee had recently met with a company called Sunny Bridge Natural Foods. Brent’s family was interested in this placement because it was close to Brent’s high…

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