Bloomsbury Village, in Des Moines, Iowa, is an example of a CommonBond community that benefits immensely from CommonBond’s Adult Education and Advancement Services. The Akol Gai family emigrated from Sudan and has lived at Bloomsbury Village for four years. When Margaret Akol Gai arrived, she had a dream of opening a family grocery store. Advantage Services staff worked with Margaret to develop a plan and to connect her with sources of support.
Margaret spent many hours in the building’s computer lab to develop a business plan and to complete state and federal documents – all while maintaining her career as a Certified Nursing Assistant. After hard work, goal setting with the Advantage Services Coordinator, and taking advantage of various programs around the Des Moines area, Margaret’s dream became a reality and she opened her store this year.
Margaret believes in making a family effort to be successful; all three of her sons assist her in business planning and keeping the shelves stocked. She is now working on adding a bakery department and hopes this will grow her grocery store enough that she will be able to quit her full-time job. We look forward to sharing how things progress for her and her family!
CommonBond Employment Coaches and Advantage Services Coordinators will continue to work with Margaret and other residents on securing and retaining employment. In 2016, adult residents have obtained 184 jobs and 77% of those jobs have been retained long term.