Originally posted September 2009. Sadly, this remains relevant.
Not long after I became unemployed, my church, First Presbyterian in Greensboro, started a support/networking group for people who were out of work. It became known as FPCJobsNet, and from February until I started my new job last week, this group was a twice-a-week lifesaver for me.
Because of summer child-care commitments, doctor’s appointments, informational interviews and the like, I couldn’t always make every meeting. But I made as many as I could. I drew comfort, support and encouragement from my fellow members, even as the group grew in size from a half-dozen to more than 100, for all the wrong reasons. They prayed for me; I prayed (and continue to pray) for them.
In particular, I cannot say enough about the leadership of Bill Linton, Jeff Claypool and Dick Bruce, three retirees who all had sat where we were sitting, Bill and Jeff more than once. Not only have they provided leadership, they’ve also provided networking opportunities, passed along tips on unadvertised job openings, and brought in speakers to talk about such unemployment-related topics as bankruptcy, relocation and online networking.They’ve also brought in U.S. Reps. Howard Coble and Brad Miller and U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan. As of the last meeting I attended, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr had agreed to come in October.
(When Coble asked how many in the group had been unemployed for more than six months, way more than half the people in the room raised their hands. I don’t know if Howard actually WAS shocked, but I thought for a second that he LOOKED shocked. It was certainly shocking, and sobering, to those of us who were there.)
They pushed members to network and to develop a Plan A, a Plan B and a Plan C.
The group has created a Web site where members have posted their resumes. Some members have even started their own business.
I cannot say enough good things about the people in this group. And if you’re out there somewhere and your business or nonprofit needs someone, you need to look over these folks’ resumes and see if the solution to your problem isn’t just sitting right there.
If you think you might like to join, just c’mon over; there’s no charge and you do not have to be a member of First Presbyterian. The group normally meets 8:30-10:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at First Presbyterian, 617 N. Elm St. in Greensboro. (There’s a city bus stop at the corner of Elm and Fisher Avenue, where the church is.)
The Rev. Peggy Matthews