Personal Stories

powerful stories of growth from some of our inspiring friends

VEP Story – Gloria Kenney

We are always meeting and working with a lot of new and wonderful people. One of the programs that brings us into contact with people whose stories are always incredible is the Veteran’s Employment Program (VEP). We asked one of our recent clients, Gloria Kenney, to share about her experiences. Gloria was excited, and had the following to say:

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“In the past, in my military career, and my civilian jobs, I felt like I had given over 100%. But when I came here, I felt like it was being given back to me. My intake here [at River City] was lovely. I was not only fed physically, but emotionally, psychologically and more physically.

At River City, we as veterans are also reminded to fish [for jobs]. Ms. Smith shared a questionnaire with me. She explained what she was doing regarding the ONET. That questionnaire reminded me of other characteristics I had, as far as being investigative, conventional and enterprising, which was helpful in realizing what other fields or industries that my KSA could help me use my transferable skills to obtain jobs in other related fields.

Another thing I like about this organization is that I love the diversity regarding educational levels and the variety of educational expertise of the staff members of the team.

During my intake, I gave my situation and circumstances. My needs were precisely and specifically extrapolated and addressed.

My civilian education consists of business, biology, science and computer curriculum, and dental. I received assistance with getting my license renewed both in New York and Virginia which will result in me being able to make suitable or close to suitable income in the future. Even if I am not practicing dentistry clinically soon, it will facilitate me in obtaining faculty level positions and/or instructor positions in the medical, hospital or educational settings.

It was shared with me that, until I get the job that I feel I want and the income I desire, it is ok to work a different job to sustain.  I may not have realized it at the time because of the positions I had in the past were dental: 2 residences and 2 fellowships. Those compensations ranged from $40,000-$57,000. But until I am able to pay for the supplemental pieces of the licensure, some employers won’t really discuss their opportunities with me until I have the license in hand. In the meantime, income or hourly pay jobs will facilitate me in obtaining those supplemental items such as: paying for transcripts, national board scores, health practitioner databank reports and Virginia PSI law exams.  I may not have understood the importance of “mean-time” work because I was depressed. Between May 2011 and today, I have experienced three family deaths, including my mom who passed away in March 2012 and my uncle, who was my father figure in July 2012.

The staff communicates with us good. And I feel the communication is good overall because we are able to communicate via email as well.

“The brochure is special. When I look at it, I see the photo of the solider or veteran, who is walking away wondering what to do. When I came here, I was fed not only physically, but psychologically and emotionally. Here, 100% is given to me. My needs were extrapolated and addressed. I could tell that the goals of this organization were unique and special.

“The picture on the brochure communicates our [River City] intended goals.

This office setting is unique and extremely nice. We can utilize the computer, the phones, fax, and scanning. Otherwise we would be paying for these services, even in the public library and/or places such as Kinko’s. And it is really close to downtown.

The organization is like a pie: it is split up into pieces of financial, housing, transportation, mental health, and job leads. And they serve the whole pie.

I love the peer support groups that are offered on Mondays. The peer support groups are extremely good, facilitated by Ms. Canaday [the Lead Case Manager]. I had not experienced that in the past. I was able to have small talk with other veterans, mostly who had served active duty, 7 days a week. I was a reservist. We are able to share information with each other, often times helping us resolve our own issues faster.

I have a job interview on Monday [July 1, 2013] thanks to the resources from River City and DAV.

I am usually in someone’s library six days a week, using the computers. My goal is make certain I attend the peer support groups while out of school for the summer.

The administrator from the Adult Evening Tech Center, (RTC) Mr. William Baul, …. In the group, there were 52 students: 51 men and myself are in this group. I wondered, ‘should I stay?’ But for me, it was good. The group is excellent, I enjoy the curriculum. Mr. Baul recognizes something good in me; he recognized that I have skills that could be used in the overall cohort study (military/the VA) [they know the end result and they are working backwards]. This year of guaranteed financial assistance we are receiving from this program , approved by the DOL and paid to us by the VA, helps us to address a lot of other issues we need to address and helps us to get through the course we chose at Richmond Technical Center, which for me is Computer Support Systems.

“Since I came back to Richmond, I signed up for VRAP. The AMVET rep was able to assist me, he comes to the VA one day a week from Ft. Lee, and helped me put together my claim.  I also attend DAV meetings (and I may have job lead from that). I also volunteer for DAV as well, volunteering on two Sundays at Golden Coral collecting donations and educating the public. I went to the VEC (I also received a lot of assistance from the Veteran rep from the VEC) and a veteran there referred me to Wounded Warriors. I was looking for a job and VEC got the ball rolling.  Wounded Warriors referred me to River City. I came and did an intake, was assisted and also referred to David Williams at DLW Vet Outreach. I experienced the wonderful assistance of intensive case management from these various organizations. The specific assistance I got from DLW was to be able to go back to the VA to have my claim expedited because I was at risk for homelessness.

It is an asset having Ms. Tumlin and Mr. Morris on the VEP team. Ms. Tumlin has been a part of the service and is very knowledgeable about soldiers and veterans.  Mr. Morris has many years of experience [in the human service field].”

Ms. Kenney possesses a strong desire to obtain employment within her field, even if it is part time.