WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) --- "No matter who the president is, no matter who the mayor is, city council -- in order to get things done, you have to get that initiative and motivation to get some things done for yourself."
Chearie Phelps-El chops onions to prepare for a Teriyaki catfish meal at Thrive DC. She is about to start the final phase of her job training program, an externship with Dos Gringos cafe.
Phelps-El has faced tough personal challenges such as homelessness. But Thrive DC has given her the mental strength to move forward and learn new culinary skills.
"We really cater to those who have been out of the work force for quite some time. Who are really in need of a little bit more intense case management and job training and life skills building," said Alicia Horton, Executive Director of Thrive DC.
Phelps-El participants in the Real Opportunity Training and Employment Support program within Thrive DC. The program is divided into three phases: developing a positive mental attitude, learning culinary skills and working at a restaurant as part of an externship.
"The first week was about anger management, the right attitude to have at work, we do money management. We do so much. And I really appreciate that portion," said Phelps-El.
Through the job training, Phelps-El says her ambitions have grown. She has already taken a test to earn a ServSafe Professional Food Safety Manager's License.
UPDATE: As of March 7, 2013, Phelps-El has successfully passed the test and has earned the ServSafe Professional Food Safety Manager's License.
"I learned to accept that I can't change things that I have no control of. I'm not going to sit here and worry. I'm just gonna have to thrive harder and do the best that I can, you know and with the help from Thrive DC, it's working."
Horton says Phelps-El is a shining example of success because she has a strong positive outlook along with the cooking chops.
"With this opportunity I'm gonna use it so that I can get a good job so that I can get affordable housing cause right now that's just an issue for me," said Phelps-El.
Thrive DC not only offers its clients job training, but the non-profit organization provides basic needs like food, friendship and a place to take a shower.
In tough economic times, Thrive DC says they are seeing a 10 percent increase in the number of people walking through its doors within the last three months.
NOTE: Gannett Foundation has given a donation to Thrive DC.
Produced by: Elizabeth Jia
WUSA 9 & wusa9.com