Blue Jacket Graduate Featured on "21Country"

(See the original video and story on 21alive.com)

Local Agency Provides the 'Straight and Narrow'

By Eric Olson

April 28, 2016

FORT WAYNE, Indiana (21Alive)--It’s been a hard life for 26 year old Kertina McCoy but things have gotten better fast. Kertina grew up in an abusive household with an alcoholic parent…was expelled from Paul Harding High School for fighting, and then arrested for shoplifting while still a teen.
“Did you even know how unhappy you were?” we asker her. “ No, and that’s weird,” she says, “because when you’re going through it you don’t until it’s over with and you look back and you see what you went through and how much pain it caused.”
Kertina found redemption, and a helping hand, here…at Blue Jacket on South Calhoun. ..a not-for-profit that offers people with a troubled past and considered unemployable, help finding a job. Classes teach clients how to fill out a resume and handle an interview. An in-house thrift store provides them free clothing to make that crucial good first impression with prospective employers. And then Blue Jacket helps them land a job interview. Kertina McCoy saw Blue Jacket as her chance at a good life, and grabbed it.
“Here’s an individual like Kertina that has a strong conviction in doing what is right,” says Blue Jacket executive director Tony Hudson, “but so often we as a community fall short on allowing that person to prove their worth, to prove it.”
Kertina proved it, got a job with a commercial cleaning company and excelled at it.
“She not only excelled but she became a supervisor and a team leader,” says Hudson, “and in fact responsible for overseeing and supervising other people that we place there now.”
Life still isn’t easy for Kertina, she’s a single mom raising her four year old, Kamari. But her future feels secure, she knows what it takes to succeed and she’s proved to everyone, most especially herself, that she can do it.
“So where would you be if it hadn’t been for Blue Jacket?” we ask. :I’d probably still be on the search for a job,” she says. “I’m very grateful, very grateful.”
Eric Olson reporting, out in 21Country.