A client wrote:
This was a once in a lifetime experience for my kids and I, so we were thrilled to be a part of this. My kids were stoked! Let me tell you, for a 17 year old boy, he even got to eat real ballgame food and it was right there. (We always need to bring our own snacks places.) We were ecstatic for this opportunity as a family who doesn’t do much together.
Another client told us:
It was truly a unique experience, not only getting complimentary Washington Nationals tickets, but also receiving additional money to cover food and drinks. I do not know any other place where this happens. This was my first time attending a Washington Nationals game. . . . I am so grateful I got the opportunity to attend.
Direct Service Clients Benefit from September Fundraiser
In September, we held our annual fundraiser. Many of our clients’ sessions are not covered by grants, so our fundraiser was dedicated to supporting them. With a generous $5,000 donor match from a former CC Board member, CC raised a total of $14,670. To help offset the cost of providing services not covered by other grants, clients are asked to pay $20 per visit. The money raised during the fundraiser will directly benefit this client population. The number of Direct Service clients we see is growing—we saw 50 from January to September.
One client wrote:
“There are no words to express my sincere and on-going gratitude to CareerCatchers and the work they do to help the Community. Each time I leave the office after being assisted, I leave with confidence in knowing that I got the best professional help and what I thought was going to be difficult was made easy. I could not ask for better in a program and would like to see it thrive and grow for many years to come.”
Job Club Offers Valuable Help
The Job Club, held at Gaithersburg Library with the Montgomery College Community Engagement Center, continues to offer much needed support. The library Job Club meets with clients in six sessions, which last two hours. Because the first year was so popular, we were asked to repeat the effort this year. And we have a continuously running Job Club in our Gaithersburg office for all Careeercatchers’ clients.
A client offered,
“It really helps to have help available and know you can count on it. For the first time in years, I felt like I was really making progress.”
Basic Bookkeeping Class a Notable Success
An Introduction to Accounting and Basic Bookkeeping was offered this fall for those who wanted to enhance their skills. Seven people completed the six-week course and received certificates. The participants were very enthusiastic and pressed for a second course, which might include instruction in QuickBooks and Excel.
One client, speaking for many in the class, said,
“I appreciated the opportunity to learn new skills in a supportive group. We all learned from each other and definitely felt that we were much better off than when we started. I am looking forward to the next course.”
Learning Community to Grow
Over the past two years, CareerCatchers has run two successful Learning Communities. We are now exploring opportunities to offer similar programs to workforce development organizations.
Learning Communities are facilitated by CareerCatchers staff, and bring together organizations and individuals who have a common goal of helping their clients out of poverty through training and employment. Participants meet monthly over the course of a year to learn best practices, share resources and knowledge, and learn new techniques for career counseling.
In our first CareerCatchers Learning Community, in 2017-18, we had nine participants from Identity, a Montgomery County nonprofit for Latino youth and families. Our second contract was with the Montgomery College Engagement Center Staff, and took place last spring.
Stay tuned and check our website to hear about new programs in this area.
A Call for Volunteers
Careercatchers has a very small staff for all the work we do, so we greatly benefit from the help of volunteers. We advertise on the Montgomery County Volunteer Center for specific positions. In addition, we have ongoing needs. Here are some:
- Tutoring, especially in science and math for entrance exams such as the TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills).
- Teaching our curriculum on basic bookkeeping and QuickBooks.
- Web design
- General IT help, including database management
We are SSL approved, and welcome volunteers of all ages. For information on opportunities, contact our Volunteer Coordinator Karen Shaines. Karen@careercatchers.org.
We Need Your Help
Now, as always, we depend on contributions from those who, like us, believe that helping individuals overcome barriers to find meaningful work that provides a living wage is key to ending poverty and enriching our Community. Please join our efforts and donate.