The FISH Revitalization Project has already started with one successful candidate, Sarah. Sarah was introduced to Friends In Service Helping (FISH), a local non-profit, by "chance" after losing custody of her children to addiction. After two years in FISH'S transitional living program, Sarah found that she was struggling to support her family on low wages. Due to her academic aptitude and drive to succeed, Sarah became the first candidate in FISH’s Revitalization program. During this process, her children began mimicking her studious behaviors and excelled in their education. Her 15-year-old daughter began studying with her at the kitchen table for the first time and her 18-year-old daughter has recently completed beauty school and cosmetology programs. Sarah completed three Manufacturing certifications at Western Nevada College and has moved from a fast-food job to a higher paying job at Redwood Materials, a green energy company headquartered in Carson City. As a member of the “Dean’s List at WNC, Sarah said, "I haven't been proud of myself in a very long time, but thanks to FISH's help and encouragement, I am at a place I never thought I would be again. The opportunities that I have in front of me are amazing."
FISH is actively fundraising for the remaining amount still needed on our $16.3 million project to develop the local workforce and fill high-paying technical jobs in the region. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, any donation would qualify for tax exemption, as the law provides. This funding is for the construction of our FISH Student Housing Project. The project will provide housing, and wrap-around services, as needed, for underemployed individuals earning college-level technical certifications and training to qualify for higher-paying jobs, helping to grow our regional economy. After students are established in their new careers, they will transition to other housing.
For 43 years, FISH has been working to meet the needs of those in need by providing various resources and referrals to help individuals and families overcome the hardships they face. Our goal is to ensure that those willing to help themselves will not go without food or other necessities crucial to obtaining dignity and self-sufficiency. Our social workers, doctors, nurses, and other staff/ volunteers have earned us multiple honors in our region. We develop individual plans for our clients to identify their needs and provide appropriate care/training, so they accomplish individual goals to change behaviors. With changed behaviors, clients change their lives.
The most significant issues in our region are the lack of affordable housing and skilled labor to fill jobs that regional employers require. FISH believes the best approach is not to build more affordable housing but to develop a workforce that doesn't rely on affordable housing. This project will serve a new level of clients. We are looking for those with a solid work history and academic skills to succeed in higher education. These are individuals that should have attended college but, for one reason or another, did not. In our beta program, we discovered that most of these students are single parents. FISH has found that when children see their parents doing homework, they are more serious about their role as a student. Therefore, we determined that everyone in the family will receive age-appropriate training so that we can impact generational poverty as the families transition out of our program.