Northwest Michigan Works! Helps Woman Help Others in Northwest Michigan
Stephanie Shilling is the founder of A New Creation, a Mesick-based non-profit organization focused on helping women and families affected by addiction, homelessness, and domestic violence. Shilling says she wants to give back to the community because she struggled with her own problems in the past, including years of using and selling drugs, multiple felony convictions, and time spent in jail and prison.
“I use my past experiences and give them hope to have a better future for themselves,” said Shilling.
A jail ministry mentor and the birth of her own child helped Shilling turn her life around. She has also received a lot of help from the staff at Northwest Michigan Works! in Cadillac.
“They teach you about the résumés and applications and how to get in to job interviews,” said Shilling. “One major detail for me was how do I explain my felonies?”
Besides job search assistance Shilling says Michigan Works! career advisor Sue Skiff also gave her lots of support and encouragement.
“She cared about helping me realize that I’m a valuable person and that I can do something with the community,” said Shilling.
With the support from Michigan Works!, Shilling has earned a variety of certifications and is enrolled in two bachelor’s degree programs. She is already offering free education and support services through A New Creation, serves as a volunteer with the jail ministry, and plans to open a transitional home for women so she can keep giving back to the community.
“I almost want to be like Sue was to me,” said Shilling. “I want to have that one on one contact with people that just need another person to give them a little spark of hope.”