Pointing People Toward Jobs
Regina Boggs defines flower arranging as just filling in the holes.
"Couple of holes there, a hole there," she explained.
But, for this mother of three, some holes are deeper than others.
"I had a bad work history and a bad background," admitted Boggs.
"She, of course, has the felony and a history of addiction," noted Sue Long, Job Point advisor. "She was extremely depressed, thinking she couldn't do this. She couldn't get a job. She couldn't move forward."
Moving forward for Boggs meant gathering more skills to get a job. She turned to Job Point where she took job-readiness classes. Boggs learned how to interview and showcase her strengths in a resume.
"She encouraged me," said Boggs. "She told me the day I had low self-esteem, and she told me, 'You can be successful if you just put your mind to it. I'm listening to you talk. I'm watching you in the class.'"
That direction led Boggs to the floral shop in Columbia's Gerbes supermarket on Nifong Boulevard. She always enjoyed arranging flowers and was ready to rearrange her life.
"They run into all kinds of problems looking for employment because employers don't want to look at somebody with a felony," explained Long. "And what they fail to recognize is that good people do bad things. It doesn't make them a bad person."
Gerbes Assistant Store Manager Karen Richards added, "This woman is special. You know, she has this great personality. And then, when we needed her, I told her, 'Regina you have the position.' I said, 'You can go for it. Your background has been different, but we will give you a chance if you try."
Boggs started to shine when she started working parttime in the floral shop, including compliments from customers about her service.
So, when Gerbes wanted to hire a floral shop manager, supervisors saw that as Boggs' chance to bloom.
"He was like, 'We've had several applicants, pretty good, that we've considered. But you've proved to us that you can do this, so we're going to give you a chance,'" remembered Boggs. "My first reaction was, 'Thank you, God!' Then, I started crying. I was hugging him. I was just as happy as I could be."
Happy because, in just over a year, this parolee got a job, overcame her drug addiction, received a promotion to manager and an Award of Excellence.
As for those holes in her flower arrangements, maybe they were openings.
Job Point gave Boggs chances, and she fashioned them into a bouquet.
"Thank you for the self-esteem push. I appreciate everything you done for me," she told the audience at the awards ceremony. "Don't give up. Have hope. Believe in yourself because, with God, all thing's possible."
"Set a goal and reach for it. Don't give up and don't let anybody tell you, 'You can't do it' or 'That's impossible.'"
The Job Point program has served a total of more than 26,000 people.