CINCINNATI - Joshua Lyles is one determined man.
He arrived from his home in South Cumminsville to the Citi Call Center in Erlanger for a job interview at 1 p.m. Tuesday. His interview wasn't until 3 p.m. Wednesday.
"I wanted to make sure I knew how to get down here," he said, after getting off the bus.
At 20 years old and unemployed, Lyles is making every effort to make the right impression and get hired.
"I'm excited about it.," he said.
With him was a binder with his resume, information about his potential employer, and a hand written sheet headlined "SUCCESS."
On it he listed who he saw as successful in business, entertainment and sports. Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey topped the list.
But determination alone hadn't gotten him to the doorstep of his own success. An entire community had his back.
That community, called CityLink, celebrated the opening of a one stop center designed to make a serious dent in Cincinnati area poverty.
Under its roof, various agencies take on 10 barriers that challenge many a job seeker; including education, transportation, and childcare.
"This is an awesome facility," said Shwana Garner, a single mother with two children. "This is the best idea that anyone could come up with."
Latonio Chambers is an employment coach through an organization called Cincinnati Works. He says the philosophy is to build relationships with job seekers and continue well past the first paycheck.
"I want to know what (is) a barrier that's within your life that can keep you from being employed," he said.
If this doesn't sound like a government agency, there's good reason, says Tim Senff, Chairman of CityLink.
"We are a faith based organization," he said, "but we're wanting to link together with anybody who wants to attack poverty in our city."
Senff is also a pastor at Crossroads Church, which for its part in that "attack," put up $10 million.
"That Cincinnati is the seventh poorest city in the country, is something that I'm frankly embarrassed by," he said.
Twenty-four other churches have joined hands to be a part of CityLink.
"We think so many problems in our city, the church has abdicated the responsibility of really attacking and doing something about," Senff said. "Thinking that it's the government's problem or it's someone else's problem. No, it's our problem."
He says the idea is nothing new.
"We want to harken back to hundreds of years ago when the church was creating things like schools and hospitals and other things to help with the problems in our city," he said.
Senff says he expects the facility to help up to 1,200 people a year.
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