Benedictine Sisters of Erie Home Home

SBEC Program Participants

All program participants are referred by the County Assistance Office and are receiving cash assistance. These individuals are in the process of seeking employment in order to improve their lives and the lives of their families. The goal of our program is to find employment and not need public assistance any longer. To prepare participants for employment, SBEC offers classes on resume writing, mock interviews and how to fill out job applications, as well as utilizing community service sites to simulate real working experiences. Some program participants are refugees and spend time each day improving their English skills in order to gain lasting employment.

For further information, contact Stephanie Krauza at or 814-452-4072, ext. 285.

Damanta Khadka

Meet Damanta Khadka: Seamstress at SBEC

Meet Damanta Khadka. A native of Bhutan, Damanta and her family were exiled in 1993 and spent 19 years living as refugees in Nepal. Finally given the chance to re-settle, Damanta came to the United States. In December of 2014 she was hired as a seamstress at St. Benedict Education Center, where she works in the Mending Place.

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Darlene Reid, SBEC participant

Darlene Reid

Darlene Reid’s story in the past few years is one of great personal loss. She resigned from her work in health care to look after her mother who eventually passed away. Shortly after that, her stepmother died as well. Both women were an important and loving presence in her life and in the lives of her two children. Starting over was not easy, yet Darlene found both the support and the tools she needed at SBEC in Meadville, one of five locations in Northwestern PA where SBEC offers job search programs.

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Greg Robinson, SBEC participant

Greg Robinson

Greg Robinson learned firsthand that a new job is good both for your finances and for your health. Some years ago, he was working at a fiberglass factory, an environment that proved toxic to his health. He needed to find a “cleaner” job. Today, he works in the housekeeping department at Corry Memorial Hospital and his health and well-being have dramatically improved.

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Heather Guldenshuh, SBEC participant

Heather Guldenshuh

At SBEC, Heather Guldenshuh learned a valuable life lesson – to take one challenge at a time. “I don’t think I would have been able to get a job on my own. I wasn’t sure I could make it. I had a little one to take care of, no child support and everything seemed so overwhelming.“ Heather also described some learning challenges she has.

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Kula Dhaurali, SBEC staff, and Puspa Koirala

Puspa Koirala

Puspa Koirala (right, pictured with Kula Dhaurali, SBEC staff) and his family arrived as refugees in the US from Nepal in November 2009. “It was as though I was blind” is the way in which Puspa described the challenges of navigating a new country with no language, no work, no cultural understanding – everything was new and unfamiliar. At SBEC he learned to see his way through the maze of cultural challenges along with the paperwork, procedures and possibilities one step at a time.

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Elsa Teklay (right) with teacher Mary Lou McCall at SBEC

Elsa Teklay

Eritrean immigrant Elsa Teklay (right, with her former teacher, Mary Lou McCall) lives happily and productively today in Erie with her husband and two sons. This has not always been the case, however. Elsa tells a story of separation and isolation, hard work and determination.

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Carla Pope, St. Benedict Education Center program participant

Carla Pope

Like all clients at St. Benedict’s Education Center (SBEC), Carla Pope was referred by the Erie County Assistance Office. She first learned about SBEC, however, from her niece who successfully completed the program and now works as a nurse aide at St. Mary’s Home of Erie.

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