A Must-read Letter from a 2015 JFL Graduate


Alisha Gayles-Colbert, June 2015 Jobs for Life graduate:

Alisha Gayles-Colbert, June 2015 Jobs for Life graduate:

Good evening everyone!

It seems like yesterday when I was sitting in my living room asking God for direction. See, at that point in my life I had had enough! I’d had enough of no sense of direction, enough of not giving it all that I had, enough of not knowing where that fire was to continue on to do this thing called life, enough of not having a job, enough of thinking I knew it all, though knowing it all wasn’t getting me anywhere. I knew in my heart that my life was soon to change, because I had a heart to want to get back up and try again. I asked my father for help: Lord, which way do I go? Where do I start? You know me, Lord, help me! Sometimes I don’t get it right away.

So, the next day, as I began to start my day of the same old, same old routine, my God brought me direction on a small piece of paper tucked in my screen door with the title “Jobs for Life Program at STEP.” I looked at the paper and I wondered, “Could this be my door, opened?”

How would I know if I didn’t open it!

So I called “Tim”, which was the name that was on the little paper. We scheduled an interview and when the interview process was over I looked Tim straight in the eyes and proclaimed to him, “This is my year!”

Being in Jobs for Life has changed me completely inside and out! The lessons that are taught: how to walk with pride and talk with dignity, how to know what you are going after career-wise, how to conduct yourself in an interview, knowing and asking the right questions, how to build, write and type a successful resume. We enjoyed and took part in skits to show us how interviewing is actually done in the work place, things that we may come up against.

Jobs for Life doesn’t just stop there. This program can dig unknowingly deep into areas of someone’s life. It can be unknown to the mentors and instructors that there may be a student there that was once a child to the system, a victim to a broken marriage, and overcomer who once went from shelter to shelter, a person feeling unaccepted, abused and neglected. It can be unknown to them that a person there didn’t know their place, feeling like they didn’t belong. All the while they were digging into someone’s personal life getting to the core of some issues that someone was dealing with, teaching forgiveness, getting to know the power of the words “Not yet!” Just because it hasn’t happened only means it hasn’t happened yet!

See, they didn’t know. But I did. Because that person was me.

I wasn’t supposed to have made it this far. I shouldn’t be standing here. I’m not supposed to be looking this fine tonight. I was supposed to have given up!

But here I am, on graduation day, saying “I made it.”

I have reached the point of having enough direction, having enough power, having enough self-perseverance to say I can do it. And I will. And I have!

Through Jobs for Life I have had a chance to be accepted into another program called Unbound RVA. Another door has opened into a world of entrepreneurship, helping little ol’ me to take all the visions and ideas and talent I have and to manifest them into something great!

I urge whoever is seeking direction to take a “step” into Jobs for Life. If you do not have a ride, Skip Long will pick you up. If you need a babysitter, that will be provided, too. In the Jobs for Life program we have prayed together, cried together and even broken bread together. We have become family for life! I have even gained a sister, Nicole, my mentor.

As I claimed that this was my year, you should, too. Your “door, opened” may be right in front of your face, but how will you know if you don’t open that door.

Thank you, Jobs for Life, for being my God sent strength to keep going!