We Will Call Him Zack



Zack needed help, so a friend brought him to a WayPoint Center looking for a place to start. Upon arrival, the friends were offered bottled water and began an icebreaker activity to build rapport with the Community Impact Manager. Zack’s responses were flat, and his rate of speech slow; he avoided direct eye contact and his voice lacked inflection. His friend explained that Zack has been living with his father, who had recently passed away. Grieving and unable to work, Zack had lost his job and the house fell into foreclosure, leading him to sleep in a nearby park where he did not feel safe.


Zack had not had a shower in over a week, was hungry, and did not have medical insurance. He did share, however, that he had several years of experience working as a janitor. After a snack and a shower at a nearby community organization, an employment partner in the WayPoint Center assisted him in completing a job application, resume and cover letter. Following a mock interview to help him prepare, Zack received a phone interview. He did so well in his first round that an in-person interview was scheduled for the very next morning.


At 8:30 AM the next day, Zack returned to the WayPoint Center and was given personal hygiene items, an outfit for his interview, and a pair of shoes. After another quick mock interview with an emphasis on soft skills, the Community Impact Manager gave Zack two bus passes and reaffirmed his readiness and skills for the position.


Zack called later that day to say he had been hired! Several community partners were able to help ensure Zack would be safely housed until he got back on his feet, and he was set up with counseling services. He scheduled to return to the WayPoint Center later to sign up for medical coverage and to work on finding permanent housing.


Recently Zack walked back into the WayPoint Center, and he looked so different that our team had trouble recognizing him. He smiled from ear to ear, let out a loud laugh and confidently said, “You mean to tell me you don’t remember me? It’s me…Zack!” He was clean shaven, nicely dressed and had an extra pep in his step. Zack had just stopped by to say that he was working full time, going to therapy and was loving his new job.



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