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National Volunteer Week; Helping one person find a job helps an entire community

This week is National Volunteer Week, and the entire month of April is National Volunteer Month! While we appreciate our volunteers every day of the year, during this signature week of appreciation, we at JF&CS want to thank the hundreds of volunteers who provide thousands of hours to multiple programs and departments. We could not deliver the services we do without them.

When we share stories of volunteerism with our supporters, we focus the tremendous impact volunteers have on our work and clients. When our volunteers are given the opportunity to engage one-on-one with those in need of mentorship and personal support, it is quite a heartening experience for both volunteers and our clients. Volunteer mentors are just one example of how volunteers help us to make our vision of helping people reach self-sufficiency a reality.

In the fall of 2012, JF&CS partnered with North Hills Community Outreach (NHCO) and South Hills Interfaith Ministries (SHIM) to create WorkAble, a county-wide employment and critical needs service for financially-struggling adults who need help finding a job and resolving problems related to unemployment. Generously supported by the United Way of Allegheny County, WorkAble serves unemployed and underemployed individuals throughout Allegheny County-especially those newly struggling.

WorkAble recruits volunteer coaches who help job seekers through the many steps needed for a successful job search. Volunteers are a tremendous part of the success of the WorkAble program, and provide an opportunity for community members to offer support and encouragement and share skills to benefit the greater community. The job search process can be stressful, and mentors provide emotional support as well as practical guidance on resume and cover letter writing and job search and interview skills-and encouragement along the way. Currently, more than 50 volunteers assist jobseekers through WorkAble, and they are highly-qualified individuals who come from a variety of corporate, community and professional backgrounds.

“We’re also grateful for the United Way’s support which provides an opportunity to pair community members and jobseekers through the unique mentorship component,” says Linda Ehrenreich, JF&CS Chief Operating Officer. “Our volunteers prove that WorkAble is so much more than an employment service. When you help one person find a job, you’re really helping an entire community.”

Thank you to the United Way and our WorkAble partners for spearheading this volunteer opportunity. And thank you to the more than 50 volunteer mentors who have chosen the WorkAble program as the vehicle through which you can make a difference. We couldn’t possibly touch and improve as many lives as we do without your partnership. And we’d like to express a tremendous thank you to all of our volunteers from so many of JF&CS’s programs. From those who donate their time through our refugee services and Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry to others who help provide services for seniors–and so many more.

We hope this collaborative program inspires you to support the work of JF&CS, the United Way and our partner agencies. To help us continue to address unemployment in our community, please consider volunteering as a WorkAble coach.

If you are interested in volunteering through WorkAble, please visit www.workableac.com. For information about other opportunities at JF&CS, please call 412-422-4200, email info@jfcspgh.org or visit www.jfcspgh.org.