Tony’s Story of Transformation

Tony came to Urban Alliance’s Momentum Program in the hopes of overcoming his barriers to employment. During his time in the program he gained more knowledge and tools than he ever expected. Tony graduated from the Momentum Production Tech Academy, Momentum’s collaboration with KVCC, and has been happily employed for over six months at Summit Polymers. Read more

Ferrien’s Sucess Story

Ferrien is the true definition of an overcomer. Jumping through the many obstacles that life threw at her, Ferrien graduated the Momentum Program in fall of 2016, and then came back to attend the Production Tech Academy at KVCC the Groves. Watch the video to learn more about Ferrien’s journey, and the impact that the Momentum Program made on her life.

Momentum Production Tech Academy May 2016 Graduates

This video powerfully highlights 6 of the 11 graduates of The Momentum Production Tech Academy. The Production Technical Academy was the first ever partnership between KVCC the Groves and Urban Alliance- Momentum Program. This partnership has been life giving to our participants by providing additional training and further instilling the value that resides in each person.

BJ’s Momentum testimonial

BJ graduated from the first term on the Momentum program in 2013 and has been working hard ever since. When we first met BJ he was in a tough place, living out of his car with little hope for the future. After graduation he immediately got a part-time job and kept looking for that full-time position. Because he was from the first class there were no statistics, no one had paved the way for him, he had to pave the way for himself. When that opportunity finally opened up he jumped at it and has paved the way for almost 20 Momentum graduates who have been hired at the company. To this day, BJ makes sure every Momentum graduated that is hired at this firm knows the ropes. He is a champion and we are so proud of him!

Johnny on why invest in Urban Alliance

Johnny came to the Momentum program while he was still on parole. He is originally from the south side of Chicago, but, he was stuck in Kalamazoo as a condition of his parole. Johnny spent much of his life in the gangs of Chicago’s south side but he was looking for a way out, he needed hope and he needed someone to walk alongside him for a while. Johnny graduated from Momentum over two and a half years ago and we still see him weekly. He is fighting to find solid footing in this new way of life he has chosen, and we could not be more proud of who he is today.

Dan’s Story of Transformation

When Dan enrolled in the Momentum program, he had recently finished a 15+ year stay in the criminal justice system. He wanted to work, but he was having a hard time finding someone who would give him a chance. During our intake interview we asked him how many jobs he had applied for in the last six months, his answer, over 100 applications. The hard part is that he had not received one call back. After completing the Momentum program, we had no problem finding a solid job for Dan.

Amanda’s stoy of Transformation

Like many others who walk through our doors, Amanda came to us with very little hope in her current situation; she was just released from prison, had an extensive criminal background, and had large gaps in her work history. However, Amanda took the little bit of hope she had and joined the Momentum program. Amanda successfully graduated the Momentum program and is finding continual success in her life. Since graduating Momentum she was successfully placed in employment, got married, and had a child.

Hope in a phone call

It is two weeks after the sixth term of Momentum had ended, and I just received two more phone calls from participants, that makes 6 phone calls or texts since the graduation.

But before I tell you what they said let’s back up a bit. Read more

Building more than a house

I had to lift the hem of my skirt to walk through mounds of wet garbage and junk furniture to get to the back door of 907 Hays Park. All that I could think of was another number…409…gallons and gallons of it to clean this place! Any reasoning that this abandoned house could offer a viable dwelling place any time soon was crushed by the stench of refuse and decay, rotted out flooring, and caving ceiling tiles. As I traversed from one dilapidated room to the next, I questioned, “THIS is a place that will bring hope and stability to someone in need? It will take 907 weeks for that to happen!” Facing a project like 907 alone would certainly give credence to those thoughts of doubt. Then the truth settled in; this house reconstruction is not a journey for one person alone. This house is where community will come together to help transform a neighborhood. Read more

Good Friday

My day begins at 8am as I start by prepping the classroom for today’s Momentum class. It is just one of three, one hour classes that happen everyday as part of the six week job readiness program. This particular class is on Communication and Teamwork.

This is a workshop that I have facilitated dozens of time through several different programs I have been a part of over the years. It is an exercise where individuals are placed into several groups, at tables where they are given a myriad of different materials; large sheets of paper, tape, two liter bottles, cups, paper plates, etc. Then they are given a task: utilizing only the materials given to work together to design and build a free-standing structure that is over 5 feet in height. The trick is you only have 10 minutes to plan and then 10 more minutes to build the structure. Read more