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Lyon student helps homeless re-enter workforce

Lyon student Dawson Angeles, ‘20, is spending his summer helping the homeless re-enter the workforce.

Angeles is interning for the Little Rock Compassion Center, an inner-city mission focused on giving hope and purpose to homeless, transient, displaced, and disadvantaged people in the Little Rock area.

“Right now, I’m working with a case manager,” he said, “and we’re developing a system to help the homeless re-enter the workforce. We’re creating a lot of the documents for the clients coming in.”

This includes writing the rules and regulations for documents like media and information release forms.

“We need to have their social security numbers and media and information release forms for the different programs we have available,” Angeles said. “We don’t have those documents, so we’re creating them and writing out the steps. We have certain programs here that the clients have to enter in to stay [at the shelter].”

He said he is helping clients create resumes and email accounts to begin applying for jobs.

“Eventually we’re going to host job fairs and networking events,” Angeles said. “We’re trying to meet with businesses and people first and let them know who we are and what we do.”

He continued, “I’m also helping update the technology and showing how helpful it can be to the center. I’m teaching basic stuff like appointment scheduling and online calendars.”

He said he came across the internship through Lyon’s career services, headed by Director Annette Castleberry. As a double major in business and economics, Angeles is putting to good use the knowledge gained at Lyon during his time at the Compassion Center.

“I’m teaching clients what I was taught,” Angeles said. “For example, in my Principles of  Management class we talked about job interviews and resumes, so I’m reteaching that to the clients here. I am also putting my accounting skills to work by recording daily donations and expenses.”

Angeles is also taking what he has learned as an intern in Lyon’s marketing department and using it in the field.

“I’ve seen Lyon host several events and helped in the marketing department,” Angeles said, “so I’ve had that experience learning how other people go about making these events happen. I can apply that experience here.”

Through his work with the Compassion Center, Angeles is making connections with Little Rock employers that will serve him well in the future.

“I’m putting my name out there and creating a program that’s going to be here for a while,” he said. “I’m glad to be a part of it, and I can say I did something here and I changed something here.”

Angeles said the internship has already had a big impact on his life.

“I’ve never done social work before, especially in a homeless shelter. Everyone’s story is different,” he said. “I know that’s a super cliché thing to say, but it’s true.”

Angeles concluded, “Seeing what people struggle with here makes me more appreciative of what I have and what I’m capable of doing.”