September 2018 Newsletter

Categories: News


Lights, Camera, Action!

Internship leads to new career interest


Jesusa Rivera is a Case Manager in Indiana.

Jesusa Rivera is a Case Manager in Indiana.

Elvia was introduced to the WNIT internship program by Proteus case manager Jesusa Rivera. When they met, Elvia expressed an interest in mechanical engineering and said she likes to fix things and learn how they work. With that knowledge, Jesusa reached out to the senior producer at WNIT, Michiana Access TV, to discuss the possibility of Elvia entering the production internship program and she was accepted.

On her first day, Elvia was so excited that she arrived 30 minutes before her start time. Thinking she would be in the background as an observer, Elvia quickly found out she would be learning many production skills. At a shoot at the South Bend County Building for Ticket Amnesty, Elvia learned how to set up the camera and what to think about during a shoot.

“For example, how to focus in, how the lighting and coloring require being balanced with white paper or the colors would just look weird,” Elvia stated. “It is better to fix all of the issues up front because it is too hard to fix during editing.”

Elvia Castillo audio

Elvia participated in an internship at WNIT, public television studio.

The internship provided Elvia with many experiences, including shooting b-roll, learning about production by observing an engineer, going on a shoot with a multimedia journalist, and assisting with editing. She also learned the importance of accurate research and conducted research for several projects. But her all-time favorite thing was interviewing for production. Elvia loves the interactions with others as they tell their story.

While the WNIT internship program is not new, this is the first time Proteus has collaborated with the public television station and helped place a student. By working with Brenda Bowyer, senior producer, Proteus Case Manager Jesusa Rivera was able to provide an opportunity for a student considering her career opportunities.

During the weeks of her internship, Bowyer could see growth and confidence in Elvia. She also noted that Elvia’s new skills in research, critical thinking and creative writing will help her in school and throughout her life.

When Elvia’s internship is completed, her case manager already has the next step in mind: Participating in Michiana Leadership’s 9-month Youth Leadership Program.

Elvia’s enthusiasm and willingness to begin new experiences will help shape the leader she will become.

back to top


Proteus Client Earns Captain’s Wings

Kevin completes pilot training program


Rachel is a Case Manager in Nebraksa.

Rachel is a Case Manager in Nebraksa.

Kevin Mitchell, a disabled veteran, is a husband and father of four and operates an aerial application business in Hebron, Nebraska. Due to the economy, business had been slow and he wasn’t providing a sustainable income for his family. He found a job working for Silverhawk Aviation, an airplane charter company in Lincoln, Nebraska. It was there that he was offered advancement if he took the Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program course, and subsequent Airline Transport Pilot check ride exam. By doing so, he would be eligible for a significant pay raise with Silverhawk.

With this information, Kevin started looking into funding resources. He talked with staff at Nebraska VR and the Nebraska Department of Labor’s Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program coordinator and was told that funding was not available at that time. He was referred to Proteus case manager, Rachel Kreikemeier, to see if he would be eligible for the National Farmworkers Job Program. After meeting, it was determined that Kevin would qualify for training services based on his previous work history.

Nebraska picture

Kevin earned his captain’s wings with support from Proteus.

Once enrolled in NFJP, Kevin was able to register with Pan Am International Flight Academy, Las Vegas, for his training course. The course was a week long and was a requirement for the ATP check ride exam. The cost of the course was $3,995, with 30 percent required upfront and the remaining cost due one week prior to the course start date. His employer covered travel, room and board which would have cost Kevin well over $5,000.

Kevin completed the training course in May 2018 and ATP check ride exam in June 2018. With the ATP rating, he is now a captain for Silverhawk.

Because of the collaboration between the Nebraska Department of Labor’s DVOP, Silverhawk and Proteus, Kevin and his family have seen a much-needed increase in salary, providing greater opportunity for this young family in rural Nebraska.

back to top


Thank you, Proteus

A family shares their story


Matt Winkel is a Regional Director in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Matt Winkel is a Regional Director in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

One of the great privileges that we have at Proteus is seeing first-hand the impact that we have on the lives of our clients. This includes not only the farmworker, but their family as well. The following was sent to us by Lacey Bailey, who enrolled in the National Farmworker Jobs Program along with her husband, Aaron.

“My husband Aaron had been seasonally working on a farm hauling manure and bailing hay among other duties. In the summer of 2017 he broke his leg and was unable to work due to all of the physical labor required on the farm.

We stumbled upon Proteus when we were looking for local food pantries in Fort Dodge. Since Aaron was no longer working and I was going to school full-time, the financial situation was really rough for us. We were desperate, and Aaron figured that it couldn’t hurt to try Proteus. They ended up being our saving grace.

We enrolled because we were struggling to keep food on our table and make our rent payments. It was the most heartbreaking situation we had ever been in. Before we found Proteus, there were days that Aaron and I went without eating so that our children could. The assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program was not enough to feed us, our cars were falling apart, and our children were outgrowing their clothes and shoes. With even more bills to come I couldn’t shuffle around the money anymore to keep our heads afloat.

Lacey Bailey

Lacey writes about her family’s experience with Proteus and the success they’ve gained.

With no family in Iowa, our support system was non-existent. Proteus made me feel like I actually had family. Rachael, my case worker, felt like a sister or even a best friend. Our situation changed from just my husband and myself, to a three-person team. Emotionally, Proteus saved my sanity and I didn’t feel hopeless anymore.

We overcame a lot of barriers with the help of our amazing case manager. She had great ideas and I was never afraid to ask for help. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to be in our corner. With her help we were able to catch up on our bills, I was able to purchase uniforms and we utilized the food pantry when we needed it. You could tell that she truly cared for us and was genuinely invested in getting us through our rough patch. I was able to finish college, obtain employment and finally become financially stable. I couldn’t have done it without her.

Proteus changed my life in ways I could never have imagined. I was able to complete college when I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to. We were able to keep a roof over our heads and food in the ‘fridge. With their (Proteus) help I am now a full-time employee, doing my dream job working in a hospital lab. We have moved to Cherokee, Iowa and are now living in our dream house. After going through this program I am now making $22.80 per hour plus benefits. I can sleep at night and I don’t have to worry about if I will be able to eat dinner with my kids.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart,

Lacey Baily and Family”

back to top


Support Leads to New Career

Seth earns nursing degree and continues education


Alison Mahoney-Doran is Regional Director in Iowa.

Alison Mahoney-Doran is Regional Director in Iowa.

Seth Hudson first heard of Proteus in 2017 during a classroom presentation by a case manager under the National Farmworker Jobs Program. He was enrolled in the nursing program at Iowa Western Community College, Clarinda, Iowa. Prior to starting the program, Seth was a seasonal farmworker at with Bridgewater Farm in Bridgewater, Iowa. He helped with everything from planting to harvesting crops, to caring for the free-range chickens as well feeding the hogs and cattle.

Seth Hudson

Seth used his work experience as a seasonal farmworker to advance his education and earn his nursing degree.

Seth quickly realized NFJP could be something he may be interested in and he wasted no time in contacting and providing the appropriate documentation to the case manager. He was accepted into NFJP and was able to receive a stipend to pay for items such as textbooks, scrubs and tuition assistance. Being enrolled in the program reduced some of his financial burden and student debt, giving him relief.

In July, Seth graduated and earned his degree as a registered nurse and will begin working full-time as a registered nurse at Shenandoah Hospital in Iowa. This will allow him to earn income while continuing his education to earn his degree as a nurse practitioner.

back to top


Working toward his own business

Brandon earns degree in collison repair


Patrick Taggart is a Regional Director in Iowa.

Patrick Taggart is a Regional Director in Iowa.

Brandon Lewis dreamed of running his own business as he tended to a beef cattle herd in southeastern Iowa. In pursuit of his aspirations, he enrolled in the auto body collision course at Southeastern Community College, West Burlington, Iowa. Brandon knew it would be tough and he would have debt, yet his future depended on making the change. He had a good plan to get his degree, find employment to gain experience and then strike out on his own as a business owner.

Brandon graduated and is a collision repair specialist.

While attending classes, Brandon was introduced to Proteus and the National Farmworker Jobs Program. Because of his work experience on the cattle farm, he looked into becoming a client. Brandon was determined eligible and soon had financial assistance and tools to help alleviate the stress of being a full-time student and trying to support himself. With his future plans to work in auto collision repair, acquiring tools was important to Brandon. Not only are the tools required for his classes but future employment as well.

Brandon graduated from SCC in May 2018 and was employed at a local auto collision center earning $13.50 per hour. Bringing home a steady paycheck and further learning the trade he is committed to, Brandon is well on his way to his goal of owning his own business. With determination and a little assistance from Proteus, Brandon will succeed as he continues his trek for success.

back to top


Steps to End Hunger

Partnership feeds 250 workers


Jeanie Gore is a Case Manager in Indiana.

Jeanie Gorr is a Case Manager in Indiana.

According to the Feeding America website, 41 million people struggle with hunger each day. In Indiana, the State Association of Food Banks reports that more than 910,000 people are impacted. Even with charitable programs in place, more and more Hoosiers are falling into impoverished conditions leaving them to depend on other nutritional supports. The state of Indiana reports that over 47 percent of the population is currently utilizing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to ease starvation. In 2017, it was reported that 16,800 resided in Madison County alone.

However, 31 percent of the population can’t qualify for the federal food program, leaving them to depend on civic organizations to fill the void. On August 13 several organizations collaborated to provide nutritional resources to over 250 seasonal and migrant workers residing in Madison County. On that day, Gleaners Food Bank, Red Gold, Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Indiana Legal Services, Needlers Fresh Market and Proteus combined their resources to help those in need.

Every day there are many in need of assistance, but it only takes a couple of steps to begin the battle to end hunger.

image1 image2 image3


back to top