Though she grew up in Washington County, Shelly traveled a long way to get to Blueprints. A single mother of a one-year-old boy, she returned home from St. Louis, Missouri, and moved in with her family in Washington County after separating from her child’s father. While in St. Louis, she had completed a culinary training program.

Shelly was referred to Blueprints’ welfare-to-work program, Work Ready in October 2017 so she could receive case management services designed to help her break barriers and build a future for her and her son. Shelly’s immediate goals were to find daycare for her son, secure employment and find an apartment.

The first barrier Shelly and her caseworker addressed was securing daycare for her son through the assistance of Child Care Information Services. Shelly received financial assistance through the office for daycare so she could fully commit to the Work Ready program.

Eager to get back to work, she soon accepted a job at a local tavern as a cook and with the help of Dress for Success, she was able to receive the clothing she needed. Her caseworker worked with the local county assistance office to ensure Shelly continued to receive her public benefits until she earned enough to maintain her living costs through her job.

Shelly went on to secure a better paying job at the Mountaineer Racetrack and Casino and once again Dress for Success supplied her with the clothing she needed for this job; Blueprints was able to provide her with donated hygiene products.

Shelly learned that a Section 8 housing opportunity had opened for her in the West Virginia area. When she moved in January, Blueprints helped her transfer her daycare and medical benefits to West Virginia. She completed the Work Ready program by working in excess of 30 hours weekly until her cash benefits were closed. As a reward, she received a gift card to Walmart, which she used to purchase a mattress for her son’s crib.

While she had very little upon her return to the area, Shelly has now almost completely furnished her new apartment. She is grateful for all of the assistance she has received and genuinely believes Blueprints’ imprint on her life made all the difference. Her future goals include focusing on her career and moving out of public housing.