By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent

The Center for Urban Families acts as a leading voice in the national conversation on responsible fatherhood and an advocate for child support reform in Maryland. It also counts as a resource that helps nonprofits across the country strengthen low-income families and a support network for Baltimore’s most vulnerable citizens.

In 1998, Christy saw her chance and bravely enrolled in the first cohort of the Center for Urban Families’ “STRIVE Baltimore program,” where she learned the necessary skills for work, like how to dress for work, how to smile and be present, and how to advocate for professional growth.

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Twenty years later, Shockley holds three college degrees, is excelling at work as a government executive, and has three children with her husband of 20 years.

Furthermore, she has taken lessons learned from STRIVE and her own experiences to mentor young women who face the challenges she once did, according to a news release issued by the Center along with the organization’s 2018 Impact Report.

“We are all the sum total of our life experiences,” Shockley said. Christy said. “My story is one of resilience and perseverance. I tell it proudly, and I do it while smiling.”

The Center acts as a leading voice in the national conversation on responsible fatherhood and an advocate for child support reform in Maryland. Since STRIVE, Shockley has discovered her voice, found success, and is an economically independent and successful woman. And she credits that jump-start to the Center for Urban Families in Baltimore.

The core mission of the Center is to strengthen urban communities by helping fathers and families achieve stability and success.

The Center’s core initiatives include economic success that provides services like STRIVE Baltimore pre-employment training, job placements and re-placements; job retention and advancement assistance; career mapping support and job-coaching; and occupational skills training and education.

Officials say clients must walk out of the Center’s doors with more than job skills; they must be prepared to succeed in all aspects of their daily life. The Center for Urban Families Founder and CEO, Joseph T. Jones says “We are tripling down on our efforts to build communities of hope by removing obstacles to prosperity and connecting our members to careers with family sustaining wages.”