Promised Land Employment Service celebrates 20 years

Promised Land Employment Service, a local non-profit agency that helps disadvantaged people obtain employment, is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and the public is invited.

This gala event is scheduled for 6-9 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 8, at the historic Coronado Theatre. Hot hors d’oeuvres will be served from 6 to 7 p.m. Live music will also be provided. Tickets are $15, available at Family Credit Counseling, 4306 Charles St.

Special guest speaker will be Troy Evans, who was convicted of five armed bank robberies in three states over a six-month period. In November 1992, he was sentenced to 13 years in a federal prison in Florence, Colo. He was released on Dec. 13, 1999, more than seven and a half years later.

Despite his problems, Evans determined to make the most of his prison time and invested it in education. After six months of effort, Evans landed his first scholarship for one class. He came out of prison with two degrees, both obtained with a 4.0 GPA and designation on the Dean’s and President’s list.

Troy Evans is now a motivational speaker who shares his story and lessons learned with people of all ages. Since his release, he has stunned audiences with his account of his endurance, accomplishments and remarkable personal transformation. With straightforward, real-life examples, Evans shows how the keys to his success in prison are the keys to his success today, and how these lessons can be applied to escaping the “prisons within ourselves.”

Evans warns young people about the dangers of drug use, peer pressure and promotes the power of responsible decision-making. His student motivational speaking grabs the attention of today’s youth.

Promised Land–history and mission

Promised Land was founded by Carole and Don Perrin, Dick Bloomberg and Stanley Campbell, executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries. RUM sponsored the agency in its initial stage.

Promised Land was chartered in 1985. “Initially, we started with just a very small organization run by volunteers,” said current Director Stephen Haight. “The purpose was to help the homeless find jobs. We still serve the homeless, but we also serve unemployed U.S. military veterans and individuals with criminal records. The county jail alternative program that was part of the 1 percent sales tax—last year they contracted several local agencies to start programs to prevent recidivism, and Promised Land got the contract to provide the employment piece.”

Haight is particularly proud of the success Promised Land has had with its clients. “Last year, despite the fact we are serving the most difficult individuals to employ, and the economy was very tough, for those completing our program, we had an 84 percent hire rate. We don’t place people in jobs. We teach them how to find their own jobs. They go out and use our methods and resources to find their own jobs.”

He feels Promised Land has another beneficial effect on the community. “There are lots of agencies in town that provide the necessities of life such as food, clothing, shelter,” he said. “And those are important, but our programs help not only restore these people’s dignity but take off the pressure from these other services and turns these people into taxpaying citizens in the community.”

This event is sponsored by AMCORE Bank, Dick & Eunice Bloomberg, Attorney Donald R. Brewer, Cincinnati Tool, Family Credit Counseling Services, Dr. & Mrs. Roger Greenlaw, Healthy Happy Home, Inc. and Sweden House.

For more information, call (815) 964-3491.

From the Aug. 31-Sept. 6, 2005, issue

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