Jobs for Life Champion: Coach and Cheerleader (Jobs for Life)
By Patty E. Shaver
Jobs for Life

When Sara King of Raleigh, North Carolina, heard about the Jobs for Life program offered at Trinity Baptist Church in Raleigh, she thought it would be a good opportunity to improve her job search skills. She was in the midst of a career transition after moving from Virginia. The farm she owned and operated there was not generating enough income. She moved to Raleigh to be closer to family and because she believed Raleigh offered more job opportunities. The area in Virginia where King lived “was in a downward spiral,” she said. “It was economically deprived.”
What attracted King to the JFL program was the biblically based curriculum and the champions, or mentors, who had a Christian background. She felt the mentors would be genuinely concerned about the students’ success. King believes that a mentor motivates and supports you and encourages you to keep thinking positively even when you think your goal is not possible.  “Mentors keep you going,” King said.
The benefit of having a mentor was in knowing that she was “specifically designated for me and my career plan,” King said.  “She was supportive to me because she knew my personal plan,” she said. Her mentor is in banking, the occupation King was pursuing. She gave several leads and discussed what bank would be a good fit, and what benefits packages would be best. “She supported my plan and checked my progress and the resumes I sent out,” King said. “She kept saying it was going to happen.” And it did. By the end of the program, King’s self-confidence increased significantly, and she was hired as a customer service representative at a local bank.
Mentoring is about relationships, encouragement and providing the tools necessary to win. Everyone in the program worked as a team. The class felt a unity to help each other. They had a common interest. “Mentors wanted us to succeed and we had the desire to succeed. It was like being coached. Many students may not have gotten a job by graduation, but the mentors were there for us and cheered us on,” King said.
This was a unique class for Trinity. Students came from different backgrounds and socio-economic levels, and some volunteers had been recently laid off from their jobs.  “We are all the same,” said King.  “The economy is uncertain. We were in the same mindset and helped each other. It was a win-win situation. We gave each other job leads and support.  It made us all realize that none of us are safe in our jobs regardless of our level of experience,” she said. “These skills are for all of us.”

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