Setting Goals and Building Hope: Why Paul Volunteers

Setting Goals and Building Hope: Why Paul Volunteers


The Fortune Society is grateful to have a supportive team of volunteers, and in honor of National Volunteer Week, we would like to recognize how their work positively impacts our community. Volunteers dedicate their time and talent across our 14 service departments. One department where Fortune volunteers are making a big impact is in Employment Services. 

Fortune’s Employment Services team looks to teach new skills to formerly justice-involved individuals and to assist them in navigating their job searches. An essential part of the program is the mock interview process, where volunteers like Paul help clients prepare for real job interviews, improving on a crucial skill for employment.

Paul began volunteering with  Employment Services six years ago. Before coming to Fortune, Paul did pro bono work with people who became unemployed mid-career and needed assistance with finding a new job. Once he learned about Fortune and our employment services, he decided that volunteering here would be a great way to channel his skill of helping others find jobs.

Job interviews can be worrisome for anyone, especially formerly incarcerated job seekers. To lessen their worries, Paul invites clients to open up and practice being comfortable with talking about their past experiences even in an interview.

“[I try] to identify the areas they’re a little edgy on. It might be their resume, it might be incarceration,” Paul said. “That kind of nervousness sort of permeates the whole interview process.”

Getting these clients to open up and have successful interviews is no easy process, and COVID-19 has posed even more challenges. Before COVID-19, Paul conducted all of his mock interviews in person at Fortune facilities. Since programs have shifted to online, many clients have struggled with accessing technology. Even more so, having the intimacy of face-to-face interviews is important for the process, and clients lose a valuable aspect of the experience. Nonetheless, Paul continues to give them his full time and attention.  

“[Fortune] allowed me to use a skill that I have, that I’m interested in, at a place that can really benefit people,” Paul said.

What continuously motivates Paul is his strong passion for volunteering. The goal of Employment Services is to help clients secure jobs, and Paul finds fulfillment in the process. Each year, Fortune places hundreds of job seekers into new careers thanks to the work of dedicated volunteers like Paul. 

“People should spend some time finding out what their strengths are. It makes a difference,” said Paul. “People get better in front of your eyes.”

Fortune is extremely thankful for its volunteers who make meaningful contributions in each department every day. For more information on our volunteer services, or to apply to be a volunteer, head to our Volunteer and Interns page. 

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