Published: Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 7:01 p.m.
William Rembert is a single father of three who is taking advantage of a program offered by the Central Florida Community Action Agency to better his life.
"A friend of mine told me about the Self-Sufficiency Program at the Community Action Agency, and I went there to find out more about it," said Rembert, 37. "I was just looking to better myself and make more money."
Madeline McCloud, a family services social worker for the Community Action Agency, said the Self-Sufficiency Program is designed to help clients improve their job skills so they can earn more money.
"We help people who are working at least 15 hours a week with getting their finances in order, and we help them to get in educational programs that will help them reach a higher level of employment," said McCloud. "The program is perfect for people like Mr. Rembert. We are so proud of him. He has come so far."
McCloud said people can stay in the program for two years, in which time, the CAA will assist them in getting employed in professions that will get them off government assistance. She said some of the more popular occupations her clients go into include becoming certified nurses assistants, health information systems analysts, dental assistants and many other occupations.
"There are loads of one-year courses that you can take and get a certificate and go on to even get an associate of arts degree if you want to," said McCloud.
Monique Harrison, the director of family services at CAA, has nothing but praise for Rembert.
"He is one of the stars of our program," Harrison said. "He has made rapid progress. He has a career objective, and he is just a wonderful and hard working man who we are helping, but he is doing most of it on his own."
Rembert has had custody of his three children — Diesha, 11, Kymberly, 6, and 2-year-old William Christopher — for three years. He said he loves being a single father.
"It is not that bad at all," said Rembert. "I actually enjoy it. The kids are happy, and they enjoy going to school. Kymberly is going to be tested to see if she is gifted. That's a good father moment."
Rembert said getting his son into early Head Start also has been a great help.
"I can relate to what a lot of women talk about," said Rembert. "The cost of child care is no joke, and I am so blessed I was able to get my son in early Head Start."
Rembert, a 1990 graduate of Eastside High School, has lived in Tallahassee and Charlotte, N.C., before moving back to Gainesville.
With the help of McCloud and the CAA, Rembert is now enrolled in a University of Florida continuing education correspondence course that will make him a certified dietary manager once he has completed the course.
Rembert said the CAA is paying for the course.
"When I get through with school, I will be able to go a lot of different places and start off as a manager and not as a cook," said Rembert.
He said it is a two-year course of study that can be completed earlier if a student desires. Rembert has been employed at University Place nursing home for five years. He started out as a cook, but recently was promoted to director of purchasing.
He said the self-sufficiency program has helped him a lot. Rembert said he was about to purchase his first home with the help of CAA, but the deal fell apart at the last minute. However, he still has plans to purchase a home, but it will just have to wait for a while.
"They (the CAA) have been great," said Rembert. "I probably wouldn't be doing the schooling thing if it wasn't for them, and I probably would be stuck in the same spot I was in. They help you to focus on your goals and they help you stay on track. They stay on you to help motivate you to achieve your goals."
For more information on the program, call (352) 373-7667.
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