Strive-to-Thrive is a client-driven program that allows Ohio Works First participants to reintegrate themselves into the community. Vocational coordinators are Danny Stephens and Mindy Newton.
"The goal is to put people on the road to self-sufficiency," Stephens said. "The program helps individuals integrate themselves into the community as self-sufficient heads of households."
Thursday Thrift includes making available business attire that's suitable for a job interview. Clients receive merchandise free.
Stephens explained the idea for Thursday Thrift started from a program at Fifth Third Bank called "Dress for Success."
"They donated a lot of clothing so we let our clients come in and pick out business suits to use for interviews," Stephens said. "But we got so much of it, we thought we'd start a thrift store."
He said HopeWorks offers a training program for participants in Scioto County that includes job readiness, remedial skill development, job search training and job placement.
Clients are provided with comprehensive work assessment, work history, social history, special needs, occupational skills, short- and long-term goals and job-seeking skills, such as writing resumes and cover letters, completing a job application, support services, job development, and placement and support services.
"The education and training services are designed to increase an individual's employability potential," Stephens said.
Classes also include a focus on personal empowerment, interviewing skills, anger management, self-esteem, and a nutritionist from The Ohio State University provides information about nutrition and how to eat well, Stephens said.
Cathy Adkins came to Strive-to-Thrive through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, and now is employed at the HopeWorks office.
"It's an honor to be part of the program," Adkins said. Her classes included resume writing, alcohol and drug abuse and mock interviews. She said there are several classes to choose from.
During Thursday's open house, Adkins was helping with the thrift store, but she also works as a production assistant for the Strive-to-Thrive program.
As part of her regular job, Adkins said she enjoys her other duties of going to halfway houses, such as Stepping Stone, and setting up a kiosk to sell shirts, snacks and notebooks.
A graduate of Southeastern Business College, Adkins said she has had many health problems over the past years, but the Strive-to-Thrive program has helped her overcome a lot of obstacles.
A mother of three, Adkins said her children are wonderful and proud of her recent accomplishments.
"I'm proud of myself, too," she said.
"She's a great mother," Stephens said. "Eventually, she'll find employment outside (of HopeWorks), or she could get hired here full time. We just have to see what opens up. We're glad to have her here."
Stephens said Strive-to-Thrive serves about 100 clients a year. Some of the participants have secured full-time permanent positions at HopeWorks.
During Thursday's open house, LIFE Ambulance provided hamburgers, hot dogs and bread, with Shannon and Mindy Smith at the grill.
DEBORAH DANIELS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 234, or e-mail at