Meet DeAndre


A year ago, DeAndre lost his wife to cancer. After this tragic loss, this single father of two twin girls went above and beyond in order to find himself a worthwhile job. DeAndre became our first JLT student to intern at and be hired by our longtime partner, BJC HealthCare. A few weeks ago, DeAndre and 14 other hard working men graduated the Fall 2016 session of the Job and Leadership Training program (JLT). 

Due to the strict requirements that go along with working in a hospital system, we had been unable to find an internship opportunity at BJC that worked for our students. But DeAndre was willing to do the work to make that possible. He filled out the extra forms and finished the extra requirements to be placed in an internship as a Linen Supply Tech and worked hard to prove himself. He even quit smoking cold turkey in order to fulfill BJC’s nicotine-free policy.

Students work on creating family trees to better understand family health issues, 2016

Students work on creating family trees to better understand family health issues, 2016

BJC had played an essential role in our JLT program. They led the development of our Health class curriculum and one of their staff members, Erin Roesemeier, co-teaches the class with Jason Watson each session. Our partnership with BJC started two years ago when a previous JLT Director, James Westbrook, met Mel Donateli, BJC’s Director of Strategy and Operations, at a prayer breakfast.  Our relationship has grown from there. We were honored to have Steven Lipstein, BJC’s CEO speak at our 2015 Night for the Town gala. 

This JLT session stood out for the emphasis students put on the relationships they made during this program. As DeAndre Criswell put it in his graduation speech,

"Give my brothers a round of applause!"

We are happy to do so. After graduation, DeAndre is still working at BJC and doing well. Of the 15 graduates, 7 already have found long term positions and plans are taking shape for future jobs. DeAndre and the other graduates each spent about 64 hours in classes, eight hours meeting with their mentors, and 88 hours working in their internships. On top of that, JLT graduates continue to have a relationship with Beyond Jobs as they work towards a successful future. JLT students work hard to rewrite their stories and we are so grateful to have organizations like BJC walk alongside them as they do.

Your support is what makes successful programs like JLT possible. Your belief in our unique approach of addressing poverty while affirming dignity dramatically impacts our organization. We can’t do this without you. Please click here and consider giving to our end of year campaign today and learn about more individuals who stories you have helped to re-write! 

Rebecca Harbison