My name is Amanda Baker and I’m from Strong City. I was put in the hospital with an infection on my back. When I got out of the hospital, I had to move in with my parents. I had many anger issues and personal challenges. I came up here to Topeka—Stormont Vail West Hospital—for help to try to figure out why I was doing what I was doing. When I was done there, I had nowhere to go, so that’s how I wound up here at the Mission. I have been here almost a year.
The CaRE program stands for Career Readiness Education and what they do is help you prepare to get a job. I’ve been at my job at Kwik Shop for almost 2 months now—it’ll be 2 months on June 24th. This new job is the first job I’ve had in over a year. It was a long struggle, because I kept getting turned down—I wanted a job—but nobody wanted me. This is the first job that said yes— so don’t give up. Just hang in there and don’t give up. I haven’t yet and I’m not going to.
In CaRE, Nell Ritchey and Linda Kinney helped me make a resume and they went out into the community and helped me find places to apply. They taught me how to prepare myself and helped me get interview clothes. We did mock interviews and they gave me other resources to help me get a job. That’s what the Career Program does for you. As a matter of fact, she’s going to get shoes to help me be on my feet at work. They’ve helped me out tremendously.
In the CaRE class, Linda was so patient with me because I was getting frustrated. They’re people who really care. If you ever need help—go to them. They’ll try their best to help you find a job. Your support of the CaRE Program would mean a lot. It’s going to help people get jobs. Jobs that they need so they can get back on their own two feet and re-connect with their families.
CaRE is Transforming lives one at a time.
My mentors are Mary and Cathy. They’re awesome and so fun to be around. We had breakfast the other day and we’ve decorated thank you cards. They’re just there to help you, too. Matter of fact after my meetings on Thursday mornings, Mary takes me to work so I don’t have to worry about the bus. When I had to go to Eudora for training for my new job, Cathy drove me. They go out of their way to help me—they’re also very caring people. My relationship with my mentors means a lot to me. Sometimes, I wish we could spend more than the hour because they are so fun. They have lots of experience and advice, stories that are nice and they help us understand the word of the week. They’re just fun ladies. The most important thing I’ve learned from my mentors is to have a good time and enjoy the joy of the Lord; to build a relationship with God and have a good time getting to know yourself and God. They’re very involved in their church. My mentors mean a lot to me, and like I’ve said, they’ve helped me out a lot when I needed them.
Later today, I’m trying to find an apartment, too. That’s where Jeff Karas comes in. He’ll help you. He gives you a list and you go from there. I need to call Topeka Housing Authority. I’m just trying to find a place to live because that’s next on my list. Once you’re here for a while, they help you to save your money and get a place of your own. Hopefully, I’ll find one within a reasonable price and one bedroom.
Jesus has touched my heart while I’ve been here in giving me patience and I’m still working on patience. I found a church. I hadn’t really been going to church and I found one while here because a friend took me to one. I really need to work on getting closer to Him. People keep telling me they are praying for me. I got a lot of stuff from my past that I need to work on and I need to talk to Him about. There’s lots of good programs here.
My biggest goal for the next 10 years is to continue being on my own two feet, getting back that relationship with my parents and keeping that relationship with God. Keep going forward and just striving to be better. Maybe have a family.