County services help new resident get back on his feet
By Jason A. Smith
When Charles Bond of Ellenwood moved to Henry County last year, he was facing an uphill battle.
Along with a number of health issues, he was looking for a job while trying to become more computer-savvy in an increasingly technological world.
Ellenwood resident Charles Bond participated in Henry County Libraries “Adult Programs Computer Class 101.” The skills he learned aided his recent job search. Special photo
Bond knew he’d have to make some changes. Thankfully, the Detroit native says, the services he’s found in Henry County have helped to ease that transition. ”When I came to Henry County, I saw how fruitful the county services are,” he says.
One of his most eye-opening experiences, shortly after moving to Henry, came last year when he did something others might take for granted. He got a new library card in April of 2015.
“We don’t have computer access at the house, so one day my mother went to the library and I just tagged along with her,” says Bond. “I was doing this before I got my library card. Where I’m from, the public library was going through problems. They don’t have enough money to keep a library open, and to keep it functioning is another issue. I was coming from a situation where, financially, they were strapped. When the police don’t come, or the ambulance is late, or the lights don’t come on, it gets to be a safety issue.”
Bond, who has 25 years’ experience in electrical work, says around the time of his move to Henry, he was dealing with health scares including pneumonia as well as blood clots in his lungs. One of his goals, upon recovering, was to get back into the work force, but he had an uphill battle ahead of him.
Bond says his experiences at the library have allowed him to take advantage of other county services, such as obtaining a pass to Panola Mountain State Park, where he is a frequent visitor. He’s also had the opportunity to become more computer-savvy along the way.
“I’m walking into a nice clean facility, and there are a lot of computers and a lot of options,” he says. “I have used the free park pass and participated in the Adult Programs Computer Class 101. Through my teacher and the library’s Computer Online Access, my computer skills have improved. I have learned how to cut and paste, move around in my email better, save to my thumb drive, revamp and upload my resume, do job searches and actually apply for a job. I was happy to learn about all of the services the library offers.”
Bond says the class enhanced his overall computer knowledge, and that the library’s Assistant Manager, Jacqueline Johnson, introduced him to an online typing class to help him improve those skills as well.
“Certain people come into your life at certain times, and she was one of those people,” says Bond. “She was a blessing. She was a person that my path had to cross. There was no getting around it. It wasn’t an overloaded class, only four people. Of those four people, I know two of us were looking for jobs.”
Bond adds that his job search recently took a turn for the better. He was hired at a local Dollar Tree store on Nov. 5, and began working there the following week. He says he is thankful to the library staff for their assistance and their professionalism toward him.
Phoenix Light is the branch supervisor at the Fairview Public Library. She says stories like Bond’s are “very common,” as local residents have used the library’s resources to assist them with job searches.
“Pretty much any job now, you have to apply for online,” says Light. “We do have some basic computer classes for people who don’t have computer skills, who haven’t used computers before. I think there’s a great misperception that everyone out there knows how to use a computer. That simply isn’t true.”
Light notes that the library has resources available to help people learn how to apply for Social Security or food stamps, both of which also must be done online. She says it is gratifying to hear from people like Bond, who have used the library’s services effectively.
“We love to hear those success stories,” says Light. “We love to hear people come back and say, ‘Yes, I just got the job!’”
For more on the library systems for job searches, online tutorials and related information, visit www.henry.public.lib.ga.us.