“I can’t believe an electric bill changed my life”
How can an electric bill possibly change someone’s life? Brandon Duncan claims just that, because it was a bill that first brought him to COMPASS’ Hand Up Program.
In May, many of us heard from Brandon in a Minute for Mission during worship and also in a class called “The Best Kept Secret – Single Black Fathers,” all part of COMPASS’ “HisStory” emphasis.
Now we hear from Brandon a third time, about how this single custodial father, who is raising his two children as a lone parent, is finding full time employment. It is a story of hope, determination and mentorship.
Enter Norman Deena, spouse of COMPASS Director Fredericka Wallace-Deena. Norman works for Community Housing Network (CHN). CHN develops, owns and manages housing across Franklin County, renting affordable apartments to people disabled by mental illness, substance addictions and histories of homelessness.
Norman had encouraged Brandon to find full time work. But Brandon had a stumbling block – he had a felony on his record, which essentially made him a permanent temporary worker. But Hand Up doesn’t give up. Rather, it replaces words like “entitlement” and “dependency” with the expectation that participants be the first investors in their own lives.
Norman participated in that mission by going the extra mile. He took Brandon’s resume in to CHN and vouched for him.
What joy they experienced, when, after several interviews, Brandon was hired as a Community Housing Coordinator!
Brandon’s new job starts August 3. He looks forward to working 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. For the first time he will be able to put his daughter and son on the school bus in the morning and greet them before dark.
Sometimes in life we encounter obstacles, big immoveable things, like a felony in one’s past. That is one truth. But there is a larger, bigger truth; “With God, all things are possible.”
Brandon says, “I can’t believe an electric bill changed my life … Norman gave me a chance, not just for a job, but for a career.” Thanks be to God for a place like COMPASS’s Hand Up program, a mentor named Norman, and a persistent father named Brandon.