The first of four new LifeWorks training sites is underway at Orange Technical College’s Winter Garden campus. Part of the Expansion Plan to double sites in Orange County by Spring 2020 to eight total, the class is supported by St. Luke’s United Methodist Church and Mosaic Church.
Yvette Desrosiers-Alphonse, JP Site Coordinator, works with the church partners to recruit volunteers and coordinate the class. As a member of St. Luke’s, she sees LifeWorks as a “great marriage of meeting a community need and meeting a strategic plan initiative to take the church into the community.”
Lee Grande, volunteer Head Coach for the class, says that there is a 1:1 ratio between students and volunteer coaches. She notes that the commitment from the coaches has been remarkable, and they’re spending extensive time outside of the classroom to help their students.
Lee also notes that these students are particularly strong and will have great opportunities. Most have some type of job, but want to move up or into another industry. The class is giving them the strategies, including how to overcome age barriers for some. As a former senior HR executive, Lee says the Life portion of the class is lifting people up and the LifeWorks Career Fair, which brings business partners and JP job seekers together, is a unique and intimate opportunity. She adds that both are unusual compared to what goes on in the marketplace.
Longtime volunteer, advocate and JP Board member, Dorathy Nevitt is the Team Leader for the class and a member of St. Luke’s. She is Director of Human Resources at Orlando World Center Marriott and brings that experience to the class as she manages the LifeWorks curriculum instructors and keeps the intensive class flowing.
As a new volunteer, Kim Hsu shares, “I believe the greatest value we provide is to surround the students with people who believe in them and encourage them in their journeys. I love seeing the students grow in confidence throughout the program as they learn more about who they were created to be and gain the skills they need to move forward in their careers.”
Jason Marberry is a veteran coach and returned to serve the Winter Garden class. When asked what he would tell anyone interested in the experience, he replied, “it is a great way to give back in a very meaningful and impactful way and I think every volunteer I have spoken with has learned unexpected things through the program. The Winter Garden location has been filled with warm conversations, learning and fellowship.”