Charlotte, a senior citizen, widow, and long-time resident of Bluffton first connected with Bluffton Self Help this past Fall. She was referred from the Hilton Head Library when inquiring about assistance looking for employment and applying online. Charlotte had been retired for several years now but was finding it more and more difficult to get by on her fixed income. She had never applied online for a job before entering the open computer lab inside the Hilton Head Learning & Literacy Center at Bluffton Self Help. The Center Manager sat and worked with Charlotte on the computer and after a short time realized Charlotte could benefit from more than help obtaining employment. Before she left that day, they set up a meeting with one of Bluffton Self Help’s client advocates.
Together, the client advocate and Charlotte identified some of her barriers and discussed her goals. Charlotte relied solely on her social security to make ends meet. Her social security increased in the Fall of 2022, but her rent increased as well, causing her to fall behind and now she was facing eviction. Charlotte was also experiencing food insecurity, skipping meals throughout the day, and was not always sure of where her next meal was coming from. She was determined to turn things around, gain employment, and was eager to learn about BSH and other community resources available to her to create stability and security.
The client advocate signed her up for a Market Card so she could shop once a week for groceries and twice a month for clothing to help stretch her budget and prepare for interviews. She also applied and qualified for Emergency Financial Assistance to pay her rent and prevent eviction. She was also referred to The Bluffton Community Soup Kitchen for hot meals twice a week and to St Vincent de Paul to help her get caught up on bills. Charlotte knew how to budget but needed to dive deeper into her finances after so much had changed over the past year. She attended one of our financial literacy workshops, where she learned tips and tricks for understanding her credit.
Once her basic needs were met, Charlotte and her client advocate began working on gaining employment to supplement her social security. Week after week, Charlotte met with the client advocate — working on her resume and cover letter, gaining online skills, and applying for jobs that were a good fit for her goals and skillset. Finally, all her hard work paid off, Charlotte landed an interview for a position via zoom, something she had never done before. She found it difficult to connect at home and was nervous she would not be prepared. Two client advocates worked together with Charlotte to set up a mock interview via zoom to make sure she felt confident and prepared. She did so well on the first interview, she was asked to come in for a second interview that very next day. That week Charlotte called to let her client advocate know the good news – she was officially offered the position, but the pay was not in the range she was hoping for. The client advocate worked with Charlotte to counteroffer and ended up signing a contract for nearly double the original offer.
Charlotte is now back on her feet, has food in the pantry, working at a job she loves, and can start saving a little each month. Last week, when shopping at The Market she stopped in to say hi to her client advocate “I just wanted to tell you how thankful I am for the team at Bluffton Self Help,” said Charlotte.
We are proud of Charlotte and all she has accomplished in just a few short months. Her hard work, and determination combined with someone cheering her on paved the way from surviving to thriving.
Asking for help is hard, and having to learn new skills and get back into the workforce can be scary. Bluffton Self Help is here to help our neighbors be successful, no matter what stage of life you are in. If you find yourself needing a little help to get by, visit our website and click “Get Help” or call 843-757-8000 today.
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