“If I can make one day better for a tired mom, a child that needs a hug or a smile, or a staff member that could use a moment of frivolity, my day is worth the effort that it might take to make a difference.
I get energized by talking to the moms to find out how school is going. I am interested in their development, progress and direction. I am absolutely joyful to hear of their success. I love to see them evolve from seeming meek to becoming empowered in what they have chosen to do. I consider success to be when one mom breaks through and becomes the person she may have wanted to be, but feared not having the opportunity to become.
I may get more from volunteering at Jeremiah Program than I give. I’ll keep trying to give more until I too can proudly say I did my best and helped that one unknown person that needed a boost.”
- Harold Fox, Jeremiah Program Volunteer
The Employment Advocates of Jeremiah Works!
“I think I filled out the very first volunteer form at Jeremiah Program,” Mae Brooks, an Employment Advocate for Jeremiah Works!,” said. She started out cooking meals, providing childcare and eventually began working on the Employment Task Force, now called Jeremiah Works!. Brooks has been volunteering at Jeremiah Program for over 10 years, and helping students with their employment goals for at least eight years.
Kathi Pitra, owner of Full Circle Partners, a small business that helps coach companies on their sales process, is a relatively new volunteer. She first became involved with Jeremiah Program through a friend, working on the Bullfrog Bash and at graduation. She soon realized that she wanted to make a bigger commitment to the women of Jeremiah Program, and became an Employment Advocate in late January.
“This whole thing is about networking,” Pitra said, “Many of us who are in the business world have really wonderful, powerful networks and here’s an opportunity to really use them, not only just for our business groups, but to work for the community and for those less fortunate.”
Susan Goodman Isebrand is also a relatively new Employment Advocate. She is the Recruiting and Communications Manager at TempForce, a staffing firm in the Metro area that volunteers at Jeremiah Program. Goodman Isebrand said becoming an advocate was a natural progression for her.
“It really lines up with our philosophy. We’re women-owned and we have a very strong focus on improving the lives of women and children in the area,” Goodman Isebrand said.
“I have tried to give realistic career advice and made sure that they were given a realistic idea about what the work world was like,” Brooks said.
“Mainly, when we get together it’s really about a strategy; what businesses, what types of jobs does she want to go after, and where is she looking at doing that,” Pitra said.
But it’s so much more than that.
“One of the best parts… is reaching out to people and helping them find work,” Goodman Isebrand said, “It’s life-changing.”
“More than anything, I just feel like I’ve been there for her,” Pitra said, “It’s not just looking for a job, it’s really trying to help her now transition outside of the Jeremiah Program into the real world.”