Testimonials

Domestic Violence Survivor Builds Her Own Future Through TANF

As a domestic violence survivor, Kerrin had endured a lot in her life. But when she left her husband just last year, she was left with nothing. At the time, she was living in a women’s shelter and didn’t know where to go, who to turn to, or how anything in the world worked.

“My husband didn’t allow me to work or learn or do anything. I found myself in a situation where I was 40 years old without any life skills,” said the Monmouth County resident.

Knowing she needed help, Kerrin decided to visit the Monmouth County Division of Social Services, where she applied for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and got connected to WorkFirst New Jersey (WFNJ). In a short matter of time, WFNJ connected Kerrin to various helpful programs.

“It was actually a very simple process,” said Kerrin. “At first I was afraid it would be overwhelming – that there would be too many applications, processes, people, but it wasn’t that way at all.”

WFNJ connected Kerrin to career-building training, helped her apply to schools, and set her up with interview skills courses. Kerrin recalled that some of the most impactful services she received were “common sense things,” or life skills education.

“They helped me learn basic life skills that I never had the chance to learn before because of my husband,” she said.

The WFNJ team reviewed Kerrin’s school application, and soon enough, she was accepted into ACI Medical & Dental School in Eatontown, N.J. Today, Kerrin is employed as a Medical Assistant.

When asked to describe her experience, Kerrin said “seamless” and “attainable.”

“The whole process was broken down into smaller steps so that it wasn’t overwhelming. WFNJ gave me all the tools I needed in between each step so I could accomplish the goals I set for myself,” she said.

Occupational and trade training, job placement and career-building opportunities are just a few of the many life-changing services available to Monmouth County families and individuals receiving support services through Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). SNAP and TANF recipients are encouraged to call the Monmouth County Division of Social Services at 732-431-6000 x6323.

For more information on WorkFirst New Jersey, visit https://workinmonmouth.com/workfirst-new-jersey/.

Monmouth County Working Mom Builds a Better Future for Her Family Through WorkFirst NJ

Jasmin was overloaded. In April of 2020 – when COVID-19 started – the mother of two gave birth to premature twins while living in Ohio. When she returned to Monmouth County in her home state of New Jersey, she fell on hard times and knew she needed all the help she could get for her growing family.

A recipient of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) services, Jasmin was admittedly skeptical when her TANF case worker referred her to the Monmouth County Community Affairs Resource Center (CARC) where she met with WorkFirst New Jersey (WFNJ), a reform program that strives to help people transition from public assistance, secure employment and become more self-sufficient through job training, education and work activities. But she was determined to get back into the workforce – she previously worked as a social worker in a domestic violence unit and worked in healthcare for 10 years.

“At that point in my life, I wondered if they were really going to help me,” said Jasmin.

To her surprise, the team at WFNJ reviewed her resume and quickly connected her to job fairs, prepped her for interviews and taught her communication tips.

After weeks of persistent networking and career-building and coaching, a position within CARC opened up. Since CARC was impressed with Jasmin’s skills, they offered her the job and she gladly accepted.

“Working with CARC opened up so many doors for me that I never could have imagined,” said Jasmin. “It prepared me to enter back into the workforce with confidence.”

“My whole experience with WorkFirst was nothing but beneficial for me. Everyone was so pleasant to work with – they even helped me find day care for my kids,” said Jasmin.

Jasmin now has the work-life stability to continue working and provide better care for her children. She believes that by helping herself, she’s in a better position to help her family.

“Through networking and attending different events, I’ve learned that there are a lot of people who were in the workforce and had to start over,” Jasmin said. “I want people to know that they’re not alone when going through hard times and need help. Monmouth County has resources to help you get back on your feet, and if you put in the work, things will turn for the better.”

Occupational and trade training, job placement and career-building opportunities are just a few of the many life-changing services available to Monmouth County families and individuals receiving support services through Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). SNAP and TANF recipients are encouraged to call the Monmouth County Division of Social Services at 732-431-6000 x6323.

For more information on WorkFirst New Jersey, visit https://workinmonmouth.com/workfirst-new-jersey/.