Finding New Beginnings at Cara

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As part of Chicago Ideas’ February 21 Roundtable event, Hiring the Formerly Incarcerated, a number of Chicago Ideas participants attended “Morning Motivations” at The Cara Program’s headquarters.

What are Morning Motivations? In short, they’re daily rallies that bring together individuals to sing, talk about what motivates them, and celebrate one another. The energy is infectious and attendees leave with an incredible amount of gusto to tackle their day and face whatever challenges it may bring.

When you’ve had plenty of external motivators over the course of your lifetime, it’s easy to take for granted how important positive reinforcement can be in building confidence that leads to success. Cara’s Morning Motivations remind at-risk individuals that there is a community that believes in them, that their past does not define them and that they are capable of taking on the challenges that lie ahead of them.

Cara is a Chicago-based nonprofit that prepares and inspires motivated individuals to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty by offering jobs training, professional and personal development, and employment placement. Taking its name from the Gaelic term for “friend,” Cara was founded by philanthropist and entrepreneur Tom Owens, and has placed more than 53,00 individuals into more than 7,800 quality jobs since its inception. By doing this, they not only empower individuals to make substantive changes in their lives, but also help stop the cycle of poverty for each family and individual affected. In addition to their nonprofit work, Cara runs two for-profit social enterprises —one in neighborhood beautification and the other in temporary staffing—to help individuals develop truly transferable business skills while helping build their resumes.

We encourage you to reach out to Cara to see how you can help. It’s a worthy organization that’s doing great things.   

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