When Bobbi Lewis arrived at CFUF for her first STRIVE® class, it initially felt like “way too much.”
Though she was eager to learn skills that would help her start a new career and keep it, the intensity of the 3-week class made her want to run for the door. “Sometimes we called it STRIVE® bootcamp,” she laughs. When Bobbi felt like quitting, the mentors in the STRIVE® program stepped in to provide a little bit of pushing and a lot of encouragement. Bobbi says, “CFUF really gave me a second chance.”
With new opportunities in front of her, Bobbi decided she wanted to pay that second chance forward and help others reach the same goals she did. After graduating from STRIVE® in 2016, Bobbi took on an internship position with Mr. Cooper in the Economic Success department at CFUF.
From there, she spent a couple years greeting members and working the front desk at CFUF as a First Impressions intern, and later as a coordinator and specialist. Bobbi has a knack for connecting with new members because she’s been where they are, and she can provide encouragement when it’s needed the most. “You caring and smiling when they come in makes a big impact on their day.”
In May of 2018, Bobbi took a chance on an accounting services position at CFUF. Though accounting wasn’t always the field she saw herself in, Bobbi immediately fell head over heels for the job. “I love it. I’ve always liked numbers,” and she gets to combine her talent with numbers with helping others. “It’s really the best of both worlds.”
“When you are happy to come to work and you’re changing lives, seeing the differences your work makes, it really motivates you to keep trying to better yourself and your work.”
Above all, her favorite aspect of working for CFUF is visiting with past members. Bobbi says getting to see the transformation of people’s lives is “so heartwarming, it really makes your day.” Many members come back to celebrate achievements like job promotions, growing children, and home ownership, which is incredibly rewarding for Bobbi. “It’s like instant gratification!” Even though she never thought of herself as working in the city at a non-profit, Bobbi says, “Now I can’t really see myself working anywhere other than CFUF.”
As a member, Bobbi learned to stop putting limits on herself, that the sky is truly the limit for what she can achieve. “When you are happy to come to work and you’re changing lives, seeing the differences your work makes, it really motivates you to keep trying to better yourself and your work.” She’s in the process of going back to school for an accounting degree at CCBC, and buying a home in Baltimore. “Four, five years ago, I would have never imagined I’d be going back to school or buying a home.”
With so many new ventures on the horizon, Bobbi is excited for the future—her own and Baltimore City’s as a whole. Growing up Ocean City, MD, the big city used to seem a little intimidating, but now she feels a deep connection to it and its people. “I can really see the potential of this city and I want to be a part of it.” And we can’t wait to see how far both Bobbi and Baltimore can go.