Perseverance and a helping hand gave Natalie Bozman the boost she needed to overcome the loss of two jobs and the inability to pay one month’s rent—threatening to displace her and her 10-year-old son, Joshua, from their home.
After losing her job in early 2014, Natalie reached out to the Central Ohio Workforce Investment Corporation (COWIC) to file for unemployment. When that was denied, she returned to COWIC to seek out other employment opportunities. After another employment position fell through, her facilitator suggested a new program called FastPath, a workforce development initiative led by Columbus State Community College in partnership with COWIC and other community partners and area employers.
The free, month-long program provided State Tested Nursing Aide (STNA) training to an inaugural class of 11 students, including Natalie. She graduated from the program in November 2014, passed the state test in December, and found a job as an STNA in a nursing home.
Natalie was able to pursue a new educational opportunity, but the time spent without a job led to her inability to pay rent.
“I didn’t know where I would be able to get the money from,” said Natalie. “I don’t have a big support group, so if I’m not paying my rent, the rent is not going to get paid.”
That’s when Susan Colbert, a program director for OSU Extension-University District, and past partner with COWIC, who Natalie has known for six years, suggested Gifts of Kindness.
“There’s a lot of kindness in the community of Columbus”
Natalie Bozman, Gifts of Kindness grant recipient
Gifts of Kindness provides one-time grants to assist individuals who have experienced an unforeseen setback, and need an immediate financial boost to help them continue on a path to independence and sustainability. Established in September 2014 at The Columbus Foundation with an initial gift of $500,000 from a generous anonymous donor, it inspires the central Ohio community to give kindness in any way that one is able, through kind acts to others, volunteering, or financial support.
As of February 28, 2015, Gifts of Kindness has partnered with 13 nonprofits to provide 158 individual grants—more than one grant per day—totaling $264,841.
“The grant had an impact on me and Josh,” said Natalie. “We just feel good that we’re still in the place we are because his school is across the street, and the job that I have at the nursing center is only six minutes away from home.”
Looking forward, Natalie plans to go back to school to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and eventually a registered nurse. She also finds ways to pay it forward by volunteering with LifeCare Alliance’s Meals on Wheels because she knows how important it is to show kindness to others.