Each year, SmileDirectClub partners with the Nashville Predators Foundation to distribute SuperGrants to Nashville based non-profits that empower people during times of transition.
One of the organizations we’ve chosen this year is Monroe Harding. The grant supports their Works Wonders program.
“The Works Wonders program through Monroe Harding prepares young people, many of whom have not had the support of caring adults, to successfully transition to the adult world of work. The program engages participants in career readiness activities, identifies and minimizes barriers to success and teaches them how to save and manage their money, how to get a job, how to write a resume, how to do all the things in life that young people usually learn from their families,” says Julia Wicoff, Director of the Purpose Platform at SmileDirectClub.
“These young adults are set up to thrive in the workforce, not just survive, which helps build a solid foundation of strength and opportunities for success in adulthood.”
Monroe Harding has been helping Middle Tennessee youth since 1893 when Mrs. Fannie E. Harding generously donated her residence in Nashville to help orphaned children.
Monroe Harding has changed with times since then, transitioning from an orphanage to a Children’s Home. Today, Monroe Harding is the only agency in Middle Tennessee providing a comprehensive continuum of services for current and former foster youth from birth to the age of 26. Its services aren’t limited to foster youth — the organization works with other vulnerable young adults, too.
“The mission of Monroe Harding is changing young people’s lives and we do that in three different ways. We do that by providing homes for children in foster care and for our young adults. We provide healing through all of our programs; we’re a trauma-informed organization,” says Sarah Brock, Director of Career Pathways.
They also help put young people on the path for a successful future, which is where Works Wonders comes in.
“We provide opportunities for young people to start to look forward to what they want to do with their lives and we help them build their career path,” said Brock of the Works Wonders program.
The SuperGrant is helping to fund Monroe Harding’s efforts to empower young people to learn how to find and keep a job.
Young people in the program are provided with one-one-one job coaching and also participate in work- based learning experiences, such as informational interviews, job shadowing, and paid internships. The program also provides support to find additional education, and funds transportation to help minimize barriers to success.
Works Wonders teaches soft skills that help participants be successful, says Britney Croom, a Works Wonders Employment Specialist. These include soft skills, such as self-advocacy, communication, conflict resolution, and teamwork.
While many young people have benefitted from the skills learned in the Works Wonders program, one success story in particular stands out for Brock, who referred to Andrew’s story as one of her favorites in the program so far.
Andrew, a participant who hadn’t had much luck keeping a job previously, credits the program for helping him build his confidence and self-esteem. He said before Monroe Harding and Works Wonders, his confidence was “zero.” Today, Andrew says he has the confidence and communication skills to speak up for himself, and is doing well at Eatwell, a Works Wonders employment partner in Nashville.
To learn more about Monroe Harding and how you can get involved in helping Tennessee youth become successful and self-sufficient, visit their website here.