THE BLOG
01/25/2013 12:14 pm ET Updated Mar 27, 2013

Hey Cinderella, Do You Have Any Vacant Rooms at the Castle?

Service above self is one of the most beautiful things in the world. Compassion for another soul and the willingness to help them up when they are down and to lift them to the next level makes this world a truly better place.

Julie, a former Client of Christian HELP shares her first-hand experience with joblessness and homelessness in an effort to encourage and inspire others to give back and help people in need of jobs and hope.

Here is her story:

I keep hoping my fairy Godmother, will appear and wave her magic wand for if she can make a plain yellow pumpkin become a golden carriage, then surely she can transform the motel we are living in into a castle.

It's almost impossible for me to believe that my 16-year-old daughter and I now live in a 325 square foot motel room that we share with our dog Rudy and a trio of cats. I am one of the unemployed and homeless living in the shadow of Mickey Mouse and The Incredible Hulk; living in the faraway land of theme parks otherwise known as Central Florida.

I'm not an old crazy lady with outgrown fingernails and that horrible smell pushing a grocery cart full of my worldly possessions near a freeway underpass. I am a 58-year-old woman who lost her job two days before Santa came to town over a year ago.

In the beginning stages of my unemployment, endless garage sales kept us from total financial collapse. Soon, I found myself pawning family heirlooms; for $14.00 a month in food stamps and my unemployment check; could not keep two humans and 4 furry creatures fed and alive.

Looking for a job became my full-time career. Each morning I attacked the job market like a ninja warrior, networking myself into frenzy. Yet, after 10 months, I became a tired and despondent warrior, still out of work and near emotional collapse.

After losing our home, I joined the hungry tribe of unemployed workers and their families looking for not only a job, but a place to live. Each day I wandered the streets literally begging for a chance to work, but there were no jobs and slowly but surely I began losing my self-respect, and the respect of my child.

My daughter told me she prayed to God every night for all she wanted was to be able to sleep in her own room, in a normal house, in a normal neighborhood and not have to look out of a motel window and see a parking lot littered with cigarette butts and empty beer cans.

I came to Christian HELP dejected and without hope. I met with one of the employment counselors who not only gave my resume a face-lift but also gave me a fresh perspective on my life and career. The light bulb went on for me during our one hour session, when Kristy, the counselor, showed me that the work I had been doing was really marketing and that I could apply my skill set to other industries that weren't so hard hit by the recession, I was thankful. I told her, "With this new direction, I'm confident I can now go out and restart my career."

Six weeks later, I found a job and my seemingly impossible dream for a safe dwelling place came true for on January 10, 2013, my daughter Olivia and I moved out of the motel and into a real home.

Of all the families without shelter in America, one-third are in Florida. Many families have run out of options. Many have seen their unemployment benefits dry up and public services far too scarce or maxed out to provide any help. Many of these families are left hoping for a job or charity before food runs out. Many of these families have found an oasis in Christian HELP.

For those suffering from job loss and underemployment, difficult choices are often made. Christian HELP firmly believes families should not have to choose between eating and paying their bills. The goal of Christian HELP is to prevent homelessness by helping the unemployed and underemployed find employment while materially and spiritually providing for them.

Christian HELP and the Central Florida Employment Council's (CFEC.org) Central Florida Jobs Initiative (CFJI.org) has created an innovative program equipping Job Seekers with the tools to become excellent employees. The program is focused on changing the attitudes, behaviors, and habits that keep job seekers from finding employment. For families like mine, these services are a lifeline to getting back on our feet.

Please support Christian HELP at http://www.crowdrise.com/cfec-jr in the JobRaising challenge. Their compassionate care of the unemployed has helped to connect over 91,000 people with jobs in the past 20 years.

Julie Zimmerman was hired on as the volunteer coordinator at Christian HELP in November of 2012.

Follow us on twitter @Christian_HELP Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ChristianHELP

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