Volunteer Spotlight: Phil and Elleen Ellis


The key to Jobs Partnership’s success over the past 20 years is our Church Partners. Many, like Washington Shores Church of Christ, believe that Jobs Partnership is missionally aligned with their core values and provides a tool for the church to serve the people of the community. Phil and Elleen Ellis who are ministerial leaders at Washington Shores Church of Christ initially agreed to observe a LifeWorks class site to learn more before potentially hosting a class at their church. Because of the need for additional coach mentors, they quickly found themselves serving as coaches. During their first semester, they learned first-hand how beneficial LifeWorks is to both the coaches and participants. They looked forward to the speakers and using the affirmations to strengthen themselves during the week.

The following semester, Washington Shores Church of Christ, with the leadership of the Ellis’, jumped in 100% to host a class at their church and bring together all the volunteers needed to run the class. They also purchased laptops for the participants to use for classes and financially supported JP’s efforts to expand LifeWorks training to serve more people struggling with work. When the pandemic hit, Washington Shores’ site leaders found themselves shifting and learning not only how to be a host site, but how to be a virtual host site. They were successful and their virtual graduation after the 12-week program was a celebration!

Because of COVID, Washington Shores Church of Christ could not host an in-person class this Fall semester, but the team of volunteers shifted once again, joining Thursday’s virtual LifeWorks class. The Ellis’ both agree that they miss in-person classes yet have fully embraced virtual learning. They shared that the participants are more transparent on a virtual platform and have pushed themselves out of their comfort zones. Asked about their greatest accomplishment as a mentor coach, Phil said his is “getting people to see they have value and building confidence,” and Elleen said, “seeing the ladies make it to the finish line.”

Why have they served for three semesters, despite all the obstacles and challenges they’ve faced? “Washington Shores is an underserved community, and the church has a responsibility to serve the people of the community.”

Jobs Partnership is grateful for the commitment and sacrificial service of power couple Phil and Elleen Ellis.

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