GREENSBORO, N.C. — “I’m the happiest I have ever been, in my life.”
For Leah Askew, that’s quite a statement. But, when you look at her life, you can see why.
She has what she considers to be her dream job, working with developmentally challenged people at the Greensboro organization Lifespan and, more importantly, she “has herself back.”
Less than two years ago, that seemed like a long shot. She appeared to have everything — a nice house, a successful husband whose business she helped run, friends. But she says she suffered from abuse and couldn’t really see it herself.
“Everyone around me could see it,” Leah says. “But I couldn’t. They tried to tell me, but I didn’t listen.”
Until February of last year.
“My life took a downward spiral, I mean like big time and I ended up leaving my home,” Leah told us. “I had a backpack and $35. That was it.”
Leah credits Greensboro’s Women’s Resource Center with a large role in helping her save her life — but it was something she had to do.
“I was at that point where I wanted to do it,” she says. “Not for anybody else, not for my daughter, not for my mom, my family — it was something I had to do for me.”
The Women’s Resource Center’s “Women to Work” program was essential in that transition.
“Leah does represent the typical client here at the Women’s Resource Center,” says Lucy Wellmaker, the appropriately named director of the Resource Center’s Women to Work program. “They come in and they haven’t worked for 10 or 15 years and they don’t feel like they have any skills.”
The center works with them on traditional skills like interviewing and resume writing but also help them understand how what they’ve been doing in their lives outside of what many consider to be the workforce often develops skills that translate well into a number of jobs.
In this edition of the Buckley Report, see how it all worked for Leah.