Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Faith-based Job Training Program is Making an Impact in Tampa Bay

This is just one more example of how private charities - and faith-based charities in particular - are more effective at solving problems. The St. Vincent de Paul center in St. Petersburg has taken a $248,000 grant from the Labor Department and used it to turn around lives.

ST. PETERSBURG - Rodnick Moore is no stranger to sensory gratification, though he's paid for it along the way.

Early in life he developed a taste for drink. Later, crack cocaine provided a virtual vacation from the mind-stripping monotony of prison.

But that was several surrenders to God ago, and now the Vietnam War veteran has abandoned illicit pursuits in favor of a single savory one: food.

"My biggest joy, besides my children, is my cooking," said Moore, 55. "I like the expressions on the faces of people when they eat my food."

Moore graduated Tuesday evening with nine classmates from an 18-week employment training program at the St. Vincent de Paul center, the only one of its kind in Pinellas County that focuses exclusively on helping the homeless develop skills to get the jobs they need to keep them off the streets.

While it's probably far too early to pass final judgement on the program at St. Vincent de Paul, they seem to be off to a great start.
The program aims to help the homeless who, like Moore, are in transition. Because he is a veteran, Moore qualifies for a bed in the homeless veterans dormitory at the Bay Pines VA Medical Center. Moore said he hopes to save up enough money to get his own apartment in a few weeks.

He says he owes his newfound success to St. Vincent de Paul and to God.

"This is my greatest moment, next to my children," said the father of five daughters.

"If it weren't for God, I wouldn't have made it."

Just a bit of good news to start your Wednesday.

St. Vincent de Paul of St. Pete

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