SER-Jobs for Progress—Improving Lives...One Job at a Time.

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Peter Igberaese

“My name is Peter Igberaese. I come from Edo state, in the Western region of Nigeria. I'm 66.”
“He was homeless,” says Yolanda Cano, Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) Career Coach. “He was on his own. He had nothing. No money, no automobile. Just a few pieces of clothing. Harmony House, that's where he obtained shelter.”
“It was then that a friend told me "please, go to SER-Jobs for Progress," says Peter. "One day, I said "let's go." We came here, we registered. My friend told me that [SER] is a place where they help people 55 and older.”
“With his interest in security,” says Yolanda, “and since he had some background in it, we brought him to get some basic skills as far as security in our office. But right when he started, he had some health issues he had to take care of. So he was out for surgery.”
“I went to the clinic,” says Peter, “went to the hospital. They tested that I have cancer. And that cancer was operated in May last year. I did the operation, and later I was called here. [SER asked] If I can take up a security job. I took it up, and I was paid. Eventually I got some money to go and rent my house here. Very close: 5 to 10 minutes walk. I wasn't taking the bus.”
 “When he finally came on board, he worked out very well. I didn't hear any complaints about him, and he was here when he was supposed to be. He learned what he needed to,” says Yolanda. 
“I'm very grateful to this organization,” says Peter. “It really gave me life back. You know what's painful? When you are sitting down on a table, and you're eating and now you've become a homeless person. No family, no brother, no friend. [SER] restored my life back. When I was in pain, in trouble. This organization, the job they gave me, it really helped me. They gave me joy. Made me stand on my two feet.”
“Then, I believe Felicia [Hines, SER Workforce Development Lead] gave him the contact for Hilton Hotels. He went, applied, and they offered him employment,” says Yolanda. 
“Felicia Hines helped me,” says Peter. “[SER] helped me again, and they got me a job where I'm working now. [The Hilton Americas-Houston] hired me as a steward. So I took up a job in February 10th. [I make] $9.25 an hour. We have a variety of jobs. We can serve food. Sometimes we wash dishes. We do some cleaning. So a little bit of everything.”
“[Peter] is no longer homeless,” says Yolanda. “He has an apartment. He's still on public transportation, which is OK. But I know his goal was to get an automobile.”
“My plan for the future is having a good job. I still want to go back to school and take a course on Psychology,” says Peter with a smile.
“I will tell you something,” he says. “I have joy in washing dishes. I have joy in doing other jobs. Nothing but happy. Because it brings me out of misery.”
For more information about the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) , contact Yolanda Cano-Saenz at (713)773-6000 extension 153.