October 18, 2011

Shelter Network's Second Workshop

By Krista Szyndlar, Shelter Network Committee Member

Haven House, Menlo Park
On September 21st, Shelter Network continued its success by bringing its career and money management workshop to Menlo Park’s Haven House for the first time of the 2011-2012 League year. The committee worked like a well-oiled machine, comfortable with its format of three sessions attended by three to four clients each and knowledgeable of the workshop’s material. Consequently, the ten clients left with many positive takeaways: rejuvenated spirits to find a job despite an economy that is flirting with recession, budgeting worksheets to better direct household spending, tools to confidently ace a job interview, and useful gifts like money management books.

Haven House participants also developed a new appreciation for and understanding of the Junior League. Before the workshop, one potential client explained why she did not sign up for what seemed like a promising training session; she said, “I thought Junior League’s was about teaching children finance or something – kind of like how Little League teaches kids baseball. I just figured a ‘Junior Group’ or ‘Small League’ was for my kids and I really did not think they would want to learn about job interviewing and money management.” Thus, neither she nor her children signed up for the September 21st workshop. She did, however, stop by quickly to introduce herself. Upon meeting the Junior League women and understanding the adult-based curriculum, she quickly changed her opinion of this so-called “Junior Group.” She was eager to sign up for the next workshop and thrilled to tell her friends the real mission of the Junior League. 

Another client felt the League’s mission firsthand that night. She experienced a committee member’s willingness to take action to help her in a time of need. Her need came to light during one of the engaging, open Q&A sessions; the client wanted to understand how legally she could have been fired with no warning or seemingly no due cause. One of the evening’s Junior League participants happened to be an attorney. After the workshop ended, the caring attorney patiently answered the client’s questions and provided further contacts. 

Haven House participants were not the only ones to walk away with rewards. Committee members left feeling great for authentically connecting with clients and for gaining glowing evaluations from all the participants. Members’ enthusiasm grew; the women were eager to continue Shelter Network’s positive impact through nine upcoming workshops at Menlo Park’s Haven House and San Mateo’s First Steps for Families.

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