10 Aug Sans Souci Supports Women Employees with WGC Grant
Since receiving a Women’s Giving Circle grant in 2018, Sans Souci has been able to help numerous female employees overcome barriers that prohibit them from self-sufficiency. The grant served two primary purposes:
1) To allow female employees to remain “on the clock” while working on barrier removal. This ensures that these women do not have to choose between hours on their paycheck or bettering themselves.
2) To support female employees with the necessary funds to overcome the barrier(s) they are facing. This could be anything from providing a gas or grocery store gift card to paying for the HSE (High School Equivalency) exam if they wanted to take the test.
Since 2018, Sans Souci has been able to provide training to dozens of our female employees on several topics such as insurance, budgeting, empowerment, mental health, how to have healthy relationships, positive self-esteem and more. Several female employees get involved with United Way’s “Money Strong” program, which offers financial coaching to help individuals manage their money and improve their financial futures. Through this program, Sans Souci employees are given one-on-one attention through a financial coach to determine and develop the employee’s personal financial goals and develop a detailed plan to achieve the goal. Coaches check in frequently with their participants to ensure that the plan is being followed or to make changes in the plan if needed. The WGC grant allowed Sans Souci to keep each of these employees “on the clock” while attending these trainings or meeting with their financial coach so that they did not miss out on hours on their paycheck.
One specific success story is about a young 19 year-old woman who experienced a lot of difficulty and challenges growing up. This young woman unfortunately dropped out of high school and struggled to find reliable employment because she did not have a high school diploma or equivalency. When she was offered a position at Sans Souci she was told, as it is a requirement for all Sans Souci employees, that she would need to take classes from the McDowell Adult Education Center to obtain her HSE. Because of San Souci’s partnership with McDowell, a teacher comes into Sans Souci twice a week to work with employees and any community members who are obtaining their HSE and seeking a non-traditional learning environment.
This young woman was excited to take the classes as she had always wanted to finish her high school education. Because of the grant funds, this young woman remained “on the clock” while attending classes so that she did not lose any hours on her paycheck. If Sans Souci hadn’t had these funds, they would have had to ask her to clock out of her shift while she worked on her classwork. After taking classes for a couple of months, Sans Souci paid for this young woman to take the final exam and she passed on her first attempt! This was a huge accomplishment for her and it was evident that this accomplishment meant a lot to her. While this young woman has moved on to other employment (another big success!) she still keeps in touch with Sans Souci and has expressed interest in obtaining higher education. I have attached a photo of the young woman (Alexis is her name) and Sheryl right after she found out she passed the HSE test.
The Sans Souci mission is “to be the community partner that improves the ability of our neighbors to support themselves “without worry.” Sans Souci, when translated from French, means “without worry.”
Stories like Alexis’ and all of the training Sans Souci has provided for their employees supports their mission of helping individuals live life “without worry.” When barriers are removed from individuals and they are guided/taught how to live a self-sufficient life, then they are relieved of so much stress and worry that has kept them from being successful.
Photo above: Sans Souci is proud of Alexis’ success. She is employed in a position making higher wages and is very passionate about her work!
Photo inset: Alexis and Sans Souci Executive Director, Sheryl Adams right after Alexis found out she passed the HSE test.