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Zepf Center News


Published Thursday, May 17, 2018

Sophia is a 32 year old woman who lives in Toledo, Ohio and after graduating from high school, fell into an all too familiar cycle of life. In her own words "…my dreams became just a shadow in the back of my mind as financial struggles moved day to day survival to the forefront. Little by little, life chipped away at my goals and dreams, forcing my thoughts away from the future and causing me to focus on the here and now. I didn’t know it at the time, but I wasn’t living, I was in survival mode. I was focused on working a low paying job to just barely make rent each month and then doing it all over again the next month. It’s a very hard cycle to break, it’s like running in place as fast as you can but going nowhere. In the end I was just tired and worn out, but I kept doing it every day because I had no choice".


Sophia heard about the HPOG program after contacting the OhioMeansJobs Lucas County Job Center to get employment information for a family member. She completed a HPOG Interest Survey March of 2016 and on March 23, 2016 she completed her Random Assignment and was assigned to Treatment. Sophia told her Success Coach that she really didn’t expect to get into the program, she was never very lucky. At first she was in shock and just sat there for a few moments, and then the tears of joy began to flow. "Finding that I was accepted into the program was beyond amazing. I did a quick happy dance and for the first time in a long while I had a glimpse of my tomorrow".


In less than a month, Sophia had worked with our Business Outreach team on her resume, with her Community Success Coach receiving help finding a dentist and her Education Success Coach starting classes toward her State Tested Nursing Assistant Certificate. It was during this HPOG program that her resolve was first tested. Sophia was taking weekend classes for her STNA and towards the end of her third week she got very sick and missed two classes. She was distraught, calling her HPOG Education Success Coach to let him know she had missed the classes and would most likely have to restart the program. Her coach calmed her and advised that she contact the school and let them know what had happened and see what could be done. Sophia made the call and worked out days and times to make up the missed classes, completed the program and passed her state test on the first attempt! "(I)... received my certificate as a state tested nursing aid and from there life just seemed to take off." "My life is unrecognizable in just a short period of time."


Sophia also participated in the inaugural session of Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World. This training entails work done in a safe learning environment with a trained Getting Ahead facilitator and co-facilitator and a group of peers. This allows participants to examine and discuss their own life experience and the im-pact of poverty within their community. Participants are guided through an assessment of their own re-sources and the discovery of other resources that could assist them with self-sufficiency leading to the ability of the participant to take control of their own lives.

After Getting Ahead, Sophia started her Nursing classes with HPOG assistance. "The support that HPOG offers goes beyond financial, it’s a lifeline to become so much more as a person. The care, encouragement, resources and best of all compassion are driving forces that foster immeasurable growth. The most incredi-ble part of the program is that I get to give back, that now I’m able to train as an RN and the support that has been given to me will be poured right back into my community. I now have something to give and make a difference."


Sophia is currently an honors student finishing her fifth term in a Registered Nursing program at a local com-munity college and is carrying a 3.81/4.00 GPA. She is on track to Graduate in December of 2019.



Integrated care is the coordination of general and behavioral health care needs in an effort to treat not just the body but the mind.


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