CLEVELAND — Raising and taking care of a family is an everyday struggle for many living in impoverished situations in Northeast Ohio, but one non-profit is offering moms and dads the building blocks they need to give their families stability—and creating a better land in the process.
75 percent of the people who come to Passages were once incarcerated, but people from all backgrounds are welcome for a chance to turn their lives around. Many of those who participate are striving to become better parents.
For Marcus Paten there's no one more important than his one-year-old daughter, Ka'Nyla.
"She lights my whole, whole world up,” said Paten, of East Cleveland."She motivates me to do everything I need to do. Get out of the juvenile system, just be there to be able to provide for her.”
Just 17-years-old, Paten says for a large portion of his life, he's been in and out of the juvenile court system.
"[I've] been shot twice. So it was a lot going on as far as at home, family-wise,” Paten said.
In need of structure and better influences in his life, a judge recommended Paten join a fatherhood initiative program at Passages to help him get his life back on track. Paten said he wouldn't be where he's at in life without that recommendation.
"We believe the best way to stabilize families is to have fathers and mothers engaged actively and a parent to know their children, and working,” said Passages’ President and CEO Brian Moore.
Paten just completed the non-profit's Jobs for Moms and Dads program. For four weeks, it offers training on parenting and navigating the workforce.
"The most important thing is about 70 percent to 75 percent of all the individuals that come through the program successfully complete the program, secure employment within 30 days,” Moore said.
Last year, Passages served 2,500 people like Paten at its locations in Cuyahoga, Lorain and Portage counties.
After dads go through the Jobs for Moms and Dads program, if they're in need, they can pick out a suit for job interviews in Passages’ Ever Suited for Men room. All of the suits are donated and free.
Women who complete the program are given a voucher for Dress for Success to pick out their new outfits.
Passages serves anyone who is looking for an opportunity to secure and maintain employment.
To enroll or get more information call 216-881-6776.