At age 65, Iris came to Nine Star Employment Services just looking for a way to occupy her time. Little did she know she would spend the next decade connecting deeply with the work and impacting hundreds of lives. Day after day she volunteered with people who needed not just jobs, but self-esteem boosts. She polished resumes and advocated for her clients, eventually getting hired on as the oldest employee at Nine Star, nicknamed “Grandma.”
“Who wants to be sitting on a rocking chair when you can help people gain financial self-sufficiency?” she told her friends.
She recently helped three south Sudanese men with limited English skills find work on fishing and processing boats as an engineer, a cook and a deckhand. A friend of the men stopped by Nine Star soon after to thank India for all the help she provided his three friends. It touched her greatly to know that she was making such a difference.
Iris came to volunteer eleven years ago with no skills or experience in the employment field. Now she’s an advocate for ex-offenders and other Alaskans with multiple barriers to obtaining work – proving that it’s never too late to find a calling and give back to one’s community.
United Way of Anchorage manages a citywide volunteer database – www.bethechange907.org – that puts available volunteer opportunities in one place. We believe that everyone has a role to play. What’s yours?