If you’ve ever visited Cara, there’s no doubt you’ve received an enthusiastic, friendly welcome from our Administrative Assistant, Dollie. Bright, energetic, and boasting a louder-than-life persona, Dollie is the perfect encapsulation of the spirit of Cara. She is both a friend to her fellow staffers and a teacher to the Cara participants she trains on security and reception.
Two years prior, however, Dollie’s life was heading down a different path. Dollie had exhausted her savings serving as caretaker for her family, including two teenage sons and her father, who was dying of cancer. She was working for an insurance agency which, somewhat ironically, offered her no benefits. To make matters worse, shortly after her father’s funeral (which she had to scrape funds together for), she found out her hours were getting cut to part-time. At the suggestion of her church, Dollie came to Cara in March 2016.
“I had nothing. I was looking for a job and nothing was coming through,” she remembers. “Cara opened me up and taught me so many things about what I was looking for in myself. It was exactly what I needed.”
It was in Cara’s morning Motivations circle that Dollie realized her goals. “I always wanted to have something that was for my children and their children and their children’s children. So, I decided by the time I was 50, I was going to be a homeowner. That was my sermon every time I got in the circle.”
As the oldest of seven children, Dollie prides herself on her ability to have order and to remain calm, cool, and collected in any situation. She also believes in always giving 110% – all skills she applied to her time at Cara as a participant. “Cara is something great to be a part of but you have to believe in yourself,” she says. “You are always being observed, or interviewed, the second you walk in that door. I knew I had to give my everything and be on my a-game.”
Staying true to herself and her abilities, Dollie made an immediate impression as a Cara participant and was soon offered a front desk internship. Initially, Dollie was hesitant. “I was already volunteering for free at my church and I knew that what I really needed was a job. I had a family to take care of. But I believed in the mission and that everything was happening here for a reason, so I accepted.”
That internship turned into a full-time position and got Dollie on the Cara Great Wall when she celebrated a year in the role in spring 2017. Since then, she has interviewed and trained more than 70 Cara participants to help them build their skills to apply for security and reception positions with Cara and its hiring partners.
Dollie knew that coming to Cara was part of her destiny. But most important, it helped her reach a milestone. On October 16, Dollie closed on her new home, a three-story deluxe townhouse in Chatham – several years ahead of her planned schedule! Today, Dollie is relishing in the excitement of being a new homeowner – showing off videos of her new home to coworkers, sharing decoration plans, and dreaming about all the memories she will soon create in her new space. “Each year, I’m responsible for hosting Thanksgiving. I always had people cramped up in my old two-bedroom apartment on the 19th floor. This year, everyone’s gathering in my new three-story deluxe townhouse! I am so excited about my future.”