Warren Phillips is quick to discuss his job in the accounting department of the Office of the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court. Burdened with a criminal record, Warren thought he might never get this kind of opportunity again. This Safer Foundation client has made the most of it, as he was recognized as one of his office’s employees of the year for 2009.
“This award is definitely an honor because it symbolizes what I’ve been able to achieve,” Warren said. “It’s something that isn’t given out, you have to earn it. Just being nominated is an achievement.”
Warren came to Safer Foundation in 2006 after he lost his job when his employer found out about a prior felony conviction. Determined to find work to support his family, Warren worked with his Retention Specialist and found a job.
“Safer Foundation laid the groundwork for me to get where I am today,” he said. “I used their resources to better educate myself, and without that I wouldn’t have gotten my job with the Circuit Court of Cook County.”
Warren’s current success has turned him into a valued contributor for his family and a positive role model for his son, Nicholas, and his nephew, Marvin. Nicholas, a 17-year-old senior at Lindblom Math and Science Academy, will attend the University of Illinois in Champaign this fall.
“He brought me to his job once and I met his coworkers,” Nicholas said. “They tell me he’s a good worker. He and my mother are two influential people in my life.”
With a strong interest in Chinese, Nicholas plans to major in International Business. He noted that his father has already helped him prepare for the transition to higher education.
“He tells me to keep doing what I’ve been doing,” Nicholas said. “He says I should do my work and if I have any problems, come to him or talk to my professors.”
Marvin, who lives with Warren, has noticed a positive change in his uncle.
“Warren is doing great,” Marvin said. “He’s got a second chance and he knows he’s thankful for the opportunity. He’s taken on a bigger leadership role in the family and he’s a great influence on his son. He’s also a good influence on me and he’s always there when I need him. In so many ways, he’s more like a father to me than an uncle.”
Warren received the award on his second nomination.
“This shows that I’ve come a long way,” he said. “It means a great deal to me.”
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