From résumés to resources, Life Skills Class helps people change course

NORTH CHARLESTON — Catholic Charities is assisting people in need with a Life Skills Class, designed to help break the cyclical problems associated with generational poverty by giving people the skills they need to improve their lives. The classes are held each Thursday at 10 a.m. at St. John Church, located at 3921 St. John’s Ave.

Ealy Ritter, the program’s client advocate, helps participants with everything from establishing personal goals to managing stress. He teaches people how to put together résumés and fill out job applications that focus on their strengths and experience. He schedules individual appointments with them to follow up on their progress. Participants also receive information on relief agencies and ecumenical organizations that can assist them.

Of the seven women who attended a class on Oct. 5, two were employed but were looking for better positions. Many of the women said situations in the home — from health problems to providing care for children, grandchildren and elderly parents — were keeping them from finding employment or better jobs.

The working poor and those who have had to retire without substantial pensions and savings often find that their meager incomes are barely above the threshold for most government assistance. Ritter said that more people are having to make choices between paying bills and buying food and medicine.

Transportation is an issue for most of the people whom Ritter sees on a weekly basis. High gasoline prices, the lack of a vehicle and limited public transportation in the Charles-ton metro area make it hard for the less fortunate to search for and keep a job.

Catholic Charities will help those who need it sort through the maze of relief organizations and government agencies and programs. The Life Skills Class also encourages participants to help each other. While talking together and listening to each other’s problems, a sense of community develops.

One woman who attended a recent class is in a transitional stage in her life, and said the sessions address an inner need that many participants don’t realize they have. She has helped two of her classmates look for employment, and one of them has found a job.

Listening to other people’s problems helps take one’s mind off one’s own problems, Ritter said.

To learn more about the Life Skills Class contact Catholic Charities at (843) 308-9361.