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1:17 PM

Give Your Time.

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By Katie Kellum
After reading an article about how potentially detrimental it can be to have a significant gap in one’s employment history when applying for jobs, I feel inspired to share my story with those who find themselves in this position. 
I am a graduate of CSUF and a Fresno native, who was, until August, unemployed for nearly two years. I sought high and low for employment, in cupboards and under carpets, I’ve bombarded the internet with my resume and made tens upon hundreds of “follow up” phone calls.  I cannot express how difficult it was to get up and face another jobless, hopeless day.  It was all I could do to conjure the energy to hit up Craigslist for the fiftieth time in three days – but I did it anyways. I began to lose all hope in finding meaningful work amidst my growing desperation.  I decided that if I wasn’t going to be making money anyways, I might as well do something other than chase shadows all day.  I finally got an interview for a position as a volunteer coordinator at a local non-profit – Reading and Beyond. I have had such a wonderful experience here so far, that I feel both compelled and ashamed to admit that I wished I had really just gotten out and volunteered sooner.
I think it’s worth noting that there are many non-profits in Fresno that need volunteers desperately, in fact, could not exist without them. Volunteering is a great way to ease the pain and stress of being unemployed.  The most satisfying work I have done in this arena has been unpaid, oftentimes I have found myself enjoying it more than any job I have ever had – exceeding even my own expectations.
So, to all of the unemployed Fresnan’s reading this: please donate some of your free time to a local non-profit. You will find that it’s really difficult to feel sorry for yourself when you are helping someone whose plight is worse than your own, and you might find that you really enjoy it. Most importantly, it is a great way to gain experience in a new or familiar field that will build your resume and help fill employments gaps. 
Non-profits utilize volunteers in many areas beyond direct service; for example, grant writing, clerical, human resources, bookkeeping, research, marketing, public relations and much more. Non-profits come in many different flavors. I guarantee there is one that can use your skills and help you gain new ones. It might even be your chance to do something you actually like, for perhaps the first time. 
Volunteering has truly been this for me, and I believe that many can benefit from my testimony.  Thankfully, what begins as a volunteer opportunity can sometimes become an employment offer – and one which you will find tremendously rewarding.
There are numerous resources to aid you in this endeavor – “Hands On Central California” (www.handsoncentralcal.org) is a good place to start. In addition, and with full intention of plugging my own organization, places like “Reading and Beyond” (www.readingandbeyond.org) have numerous sites throughout the city, and has a great need for volunteers.  You can take a day to distribute food, (www.communityfoodbank.net) or become a mentor for a child who needs it more than you can possibly imagine (www.bbbs.org).
If you find yourself with idle time, make the most of it! Volunteering is really more than picking up trash on the side of Highway 99. It is a very rewarding way to improve your employment outlook.
2 Comment(s).

Posted by Hina Fatima:

Thank you very much Katie for sharing your experience with everyone. Volunteering is one thing that everyone can do, no matter what age or financial status. I became member of Cyber Kiwanis when I was in my third trimester and had a two year old to look after. For most people, pregnancy and parenthood itself is a reason not to commit to service. Anyways, thank you for everything that you do. I hope more people see that the world needs our time, more than our money.

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10/16/2015 @ 8:25 PM

Posted by kesehatan pintar:

nice sharing Katie, your experience is good

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10/26/2015 @ 3:06 AM

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