AIM took the time to ask her a few questions about her experience with the local non-profit and the impact it’s had on her life.
Jennifer is a personal testimony of how something as simple as seeking out help from AIM can in her words, “Instill a flame for change and growth” in her life.
She first heard about AIM through her mom’s best friend, who had enlisted in the WACS program years ago. Her story begins by first talking to Angie Shaw, Client Services Coordinator for AIM’s food pantry.
What is a brief version of your story before coming to AIM?
“When I first heard of AIM it was more due to needing help with the cost of education. I never visited AIM at that time, but once I did, it was for formula for my daughter. I did not know much about AIM or its mission, but I just knew that talking to someone could help how I was feeling, and they could give me some guidance as to where to go. I Spoke with Angie and she told me about a program that could help with formula for my daughter and then she also told me about Employment Pathways.”
How did you see AIM at that time?
“At that time, I only knew of AIM as a food pantry and knew nothing more. In talking with Angie, she enlightened me that AIM does more and has a mission for self-sufficiency.”
Many who hear about AIM picture it as simply a Food Pantry located in the Anderson area. Those like Jennifer who take a deeper look into what all AIM has to offer, see that the it’s home to a variety of different programs that seek to meet the needs of struggling individuals and families. AIM’s programs include Pivotal Support, Employment Pathways, Housing Program, Hunger Ministries, and WACS (Women and Children Succeeding).
Who has been a vital part of your journey and how were they there for you?
“I think Angie, Becky who is not here anymore, and the WACS program have been vital to my journey. Without Angie I would not know that AIM was more than a food pantry and without her talk I would not have come back for more. Becky helped me through getting my certification for Electrocardiogram Technology and helped me find a job working at Greenville Memorial before I went to Anmed Health. Overall WACS has been the greatest help. They have taught me that education is the most important component to getting ahead in life. They have taught me what it means to be a student, as well as a mother and a friend. They have helped me reach my goals and have even helped me obtain housing. WACS has been instrumental in my growth and without them I know I would not be the woman I am today.”
Now that you’re an AmeriCorps VISTA, WACS participant, student, mother, and much more, how is your life different than it was before?
“My life Is different than it was before because I was instilled with a flame for change and growth. I was taught that I could change my future on my own and that only I could do that. I have been guided to self-sufficiency through AIM, WACS, and AmeriCorps VISTA. I am changed because I am a student and a mother and have learned how that influences my life.”
What is your favorite part about your experience?
“My favorite part of my experience is being a part of something greater than just myself and a community that changes lives for the better.”
Would you recommend becoming an AmeriCorps VISTA and/or WACS participant to others? If so, why?
“I would recommend AmeriCorps VISTA for a gain in education and experience. I would recommend WACS because of the community and loving care that it provides to its participants. They really let you know that you are not alone in your situation and sometimes knowing that is all you need.”
How does your faith play a part in your ‘AIM story’?
“My faith plays a role in my AIM story because without faith, I never would have taken Angie’s advice and came back to explore what AIM has to offer. Without prayer and guidance from God, I would not have taken that leap of faith that lead me to where I am today.”
Is there anything else you would like to mention?
"I would just like to mention that AIM lives out its mission and I am living proof of that. Sometimes it is hard to see the immediate result to how AIM may have helped someone, but just know that even in the smallest way, AIM changes people’s lives every day."
Jennifer is living, breathing proof of the impact that AIM is having in the Anderson area. AIM aspires to help individuals do more than just get out of tough situations. It goes beyond that to assist individuals in reaching their full potential and fulfilling their dreams. AIM's mission is to connect people with support, resources, and education so they can empower to become self-sufficient. Jennifer is just one of many who have been shown that the only person who can change your life is yourself, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone.
For more information on AIMs programs visit www.aimcharity.org.