In 2016, Rich and his family were evicted from a Burlington apartment building with only a 30-day notice. The landlord sold the building, forcing all tenants to leave. Rich didn’t have enough time to find a new home and even lost his job as a result.
Rich remarked, “It was rough…with shared transportation, I couldn’t get to work, because I wouldn’t know where I was going to be to get picked up, or by who…so yeah, it was hard.”
Motivated to improve the situation for his two children, ages two and five, and his wife, who was also unemployed, Rich found a new home through help from Reach Up, a program of the Vermont Department of Children and Families. And after enrolling in ReSOURCE’s Apprentice Style, Rich began to feel a sense of belonging and purpose.
In Apprentice Style, Rich worked alongside Chuck, one of our appliance repair trainers, learning to fix large appliances from washers and dryers to refrigerators and kitchen ranges. Rich took to the work quickly and was hired by ReSOURCE right after he finished the program. Coming full circle, he now trains new students interested in appliance repair.
Speaking enthusiastically about his role as a trainer, Rich says, “I like working with the kids who try and work hard. They are the ones that want to be here.” Rich’s strategy for training students is a show-do-share model where he first shows a student how to fix an appliance. Then, the student repeats the steps as Rich supervises. Finally, he puts two similar models of the same appliance next to each other and they fix them together. This model gives students independence while guiding them through the repair work, resulting in them being comfortable fixing machines on their own. Many of our students come out of this program ready to work as confident young adults.
Rich has grown through his hardship and thinks of his current life as a deep blessing. He states, “Stability is key to happiness.” Rich has been working at ReSOURCE for three years now and it is our commitment to ensure that community members like Rich are prepared with job skills that can be used to create sustainable futures.