Sometimes, all you have to do is ask.
Ten months ago, 48-year-old Kevin Sorick found himself unemployed and homeless.
He lost his job as a certified nursing assistant because he took time off to care for his mother who had suffered a stroke. After working a monotonous job at a manufacturing plant, he quit and eventually moved out of his apartment and into the Stephen Center
, a homeless shelter at 27th and Q streets.
Sorick planned to be there temporarily as he searched for a new job and tried to get back on his feet, but for the first two months he was there, he found himself in a funk and barely left. It was during this time, too, that he was diagnosed with depression. “I had motivation and drive but no movement,” he said. “I had dreams but they weren’t going into action.”
Sorick saw other residents visiting the South Omaha Library
to use the computers and realized that was something he could do, too. He decided to start searching for jobs.
The task became more daunting than he thought as he navigated through websites and forms all requiring different information and different ways to input or upload that information.
“It would take me half a day to put out two applications,” he said. Sorick knew there had to be a better way.
Finally, he decided to ask.
“I need help,” he told the library staff member at the front desk.
Library staff worked with him and addressed his needs and found one simple solution that could help him in applying for jobs.
“Have you heard of a flash drive?” asked Library Specialist Adrian Gomez.
Sorick bought one from the library for $5 and staff showed him how to save different versions of his
resume on the flash drive so he could choose the one he needed when applying for jobs.
“The staff here taught me so many things,” he said. “Not just resume building or how to transfer files to a flash drive, but even getting a refresher in cutting, pasting and formatting a document.” These were all things Sorick said he hadn’t done for at least a decade. “I didn’t know how to do it anymore.”
His work finally paid off and he landed a job as a dishwasher in a nursing home. The facility was an ideal place of employment for someone working his way back toward a CNA position. Sorick said he worked hard at his job, finding ways to improve the dishwashing process for himself and the CNAs he worked with, and tried to be “the most cheerful dishwasher I could be.” Six months later, a CNA position opened up at the nursing home and after a few rounds of interviews, Sorick was chosen for the job.
He credits the skills he learned from library staff as a big part of his accomplishment. “I wouldn’t be employed right now if it weren’t for the library.”
Sorick has a new apartment near the South Omaha Library and still visits the branch, viewing and updating his Facebook page (which library staff taught him to set up) and posting or emailing pictures (which he also learned at the library).
Sorick wants to go back to school someday to become a nurse.