Cleveland resident Kimberly Stokes is happy. She has a job she loves where she can work from home and provide for her kids. But not too long ago, Kimberly was in a very different situation.

“I was in desperate need of beds for my kids,” she said. “I was in the process of obtaining custody of two children and I didn’t have the needed beds for the inspection of the Guardian Ad Litem.”

When Kimberly’s efforts to reach out to friends and family on social media failed, she called the Council for Economic Opportunities’ Glenville Neighborhood Opportunity Center to ask for help.

“My first phone call was very short,” she recalled. “They asked me a couple of questions and promised to call me back. I had heard that song and dance before, but she truly did call me back! It didn’t take her more than an hour. I was truly impressed.”

The staff helped Kimberly get the beds she needed through a partnership with the Cleveland Furniture Bank – but the relationship didn’t end there. Kimberly found more services through the Council that she knew could help improve her life even more. She enrolled in two different professional development courses.

“I completed the 3-day job readiness program and the six week Customer Service program,” she said. Those programs gave her the skills and confidence to find a job in the Customer Service field. “I am currently employed at Marriott Global Reservations, working from home taking reservations,” she said. “I love my job. There’s never a dull moment and the convenience of being at home is priceless.”

Kimberly found the Council at a time when she desperately needed help. And she knew that if she dedicated her time and energy to improving herself, she’d see the rewards. That’s something she tells her friends and family, too.

“I have recommended the Council for Economic Opportunities’ programs to many people, but I tell them, ‘you have to put work into the program to reap the benefits,’” she said. “Nothing comes for free – you get out what you put in; it’s just that simple.”