Graduate Highlight: Leonard, Class 81

Leonard on graduation day with his instructor, Deborah Smith.

Leonard on graduation day with his instructor, Deborah Smith.

My name is Leonard Dwarn Carver. I am a 48 year old father of four. I am originally from New York, but grew up on various military bases both abroad and domestically before joining the military myself. I was a troubled young man from a dysfunctional and unstable family life that left me unequipped to be a man. Getting into trouble with the law at an early age, I spent all of my 20s in prison. Not getting out until the age of 32, I never attended school outside of a correctional facility. After getting out of prison in February 2000, I didn’t go back to prison, but I hopped from job to job never staying at any job more than three years. During this time, I continued to get involved in one bad relationship after another that negatively influenced my decision making and caused me to make some very poor choices in my life.

Eighteen years later, I found myself in yet another failed marriage with an addict and unemployed yet again. I heard about WorkFaith Birmingham and decided to attend the class after hearing that they help ex-felons find work. It looked like I would fail.  In the first few days I lost my wife and kids and almost lost the roof over my head.

If not for Pastor Andy Blake coming to my home and talking with me when I had thoughts of suicide, Shanavia Moore listening to my troubles and offering advice on my legal and health issues, and Mrs. Deborah Smith sharing her testimony with me when I was ready to quit, I would now be dead or in jail.

Instead, this class made me feel like I wasn’t alone and filled me with a new confidence and sense of purpose that I hadn't had in years! Helping me actually see my police report/background let me know it wasn’t as bad as I had thought all these years. By the end of this class, instead of hopeless I am hopeful. Instead of depressed, I am determined. Not perfect, but definitely in a better place than when I started. I am forever grateful and indebted to this Workfaith Birmingham team here at the Salvation Army.

Click here to watch a video of Leonard sharing his testimony at his WorkFaith graduation.

Give the gift of WORTH

We love hearing about how God is using WorkFaith to change lives and instill worth in individuals as they are empowered through work and faith. In the video below, WorkFaith graduate, Brenda, shares about how her life has been impacted through this ministry. Rejoice with us at this story of transformation. We invite you to prayerfully consider joining us in empowering individuals to enjoy God’s good design for their lives.

WorkFaith Instructor, Tamika Holmes, interviews Class 33 graduate, Brenda, about how she has been empowered through WorkFaith Birmingham.

Graduate highlight: Danielle, class #82

Danielle with her instructor, Tamika Holmes, on graduation day at The Lovelady Center.

Danielle with her instructor, Tamika Holmes, on graduation day at The Lovelady Center.

Danielle recently graduated as part of Class #82 at The Lovelady Center. Before starting WorkFaith, she was unsure about the benefits of participating in the program. Danielle thought, "I don't need this. I know how to interview, write a resume, and get a job." Despite her hesitancy, she completed the workshop just before Thanksgiving, and said, "I feel more hopeful about my future and what I have to offer."

Danielle said one of the biggest challenges before WorkFaith was "making sense of my chaotic work history." The instructors helped her understand how to update her cover letter and resume, and she now feels confident in her ability to re-enter the workforce. Danielle said, "knowing how to effectively weave oneself back into the competitive workforce of today should be an essential part of any treatment program." This is why Danielle recommends WorkFaith to fellow Lovelady clients.

In addition to sharpening her career building skills, Danielle enjoyed discovering how to manage conflict at work, and she is thankful to have a family at WorkFaith to turn to for advice and wisdom regarding her career plans. WorkFaith helped her gain a better understanding about her need for spiritual development while she discovers God's good design for her life.

Empower 50: Restoration Through Work & Faith

In Philippians 3:13, Paul says that he is "...reaching forward to what is ahead." God has been gracious to WorkFaith in 2018, but there is still much work to be done in 2019. The clients God has entrusted to us need expanded aftercare support that includes recovery from substance use, care for domestic abuse survivors, career development services, and financial stability education. While providing this additional support, WorkFaith must honor our mission to empower clients with the skills and ethics to secure employment.

In order to accomplish these tasks, I would like you to consider continuing your partnership next year by participating in Empower 50. By December 31, our goal is to fund workshop participation and career development for 50 clients in 2019. Your gift of $50 per month will allow someone to experience restoration through work and faith in order to glorify Christ in our city. You can participate in Empower 50 by following the instructions below. You can also make a one-time gift by clicking here. In addition, please share this campaign with anyone that wants to see Christ at work in Birmingham.

May God bless each of you,
Andy Blake, Executive Director

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Looking back, reaching forward


In 2018, God has continued to bless the efforts of WorkFaith Birmingham in a variety of ways. A new partnership was born with The Salvation Army in January that has empowered 68 clients with the knowledge, skills, ethics, and confidence to experience God's good design in their lives. Over the course of the entire year, classes conducted at The Lovelady Center were consistently at maximum capacity, filled with women that needed to find restoration through career development and understanding of the biblical view of work. In June, God provided numerous employers that participated in our first job fair that led to direct employment for some and excitement for all. Altogether, God allowed WorkFaith to serve 229 people in 2018 and to maintain an 80 percent employment/education rate for our graduates.

But numbers don't tell the stories of people. Clients like William, who has struggled throughout his life to maintain employment because of addictive behaviors, said that WorkFaith and his classmates, "...gave me the confidence to strive forward and overcome some of the obstacles that hindered my work history. With the use of scripture, prayer, biblical principles, and the wonderful leadership of Mrs. Smith, I am ready to face the challenges of society's workforce." Or people like Shauntae, who wrote, "after beginning this walk with WorkFaith, I have been given renewed confidence that I can become a productive member of society.  Also, it has helped me to remember that God knows all that I have gone through and that he has a plan for me and my life."

Click here to read the rest of our update on how God is working at WorkFaith and how you can be involved in the upcoming year.