Our team had the chance to interview one of our wonderful mentor and mentee duos, Jan and Margaret. Margaret’s story is one of resilience and we are excited to share it with you.
How did you learn about the Women’s Resource Center? What made you want to engage with WRC?
M: I first engaged with WRC more than 10 years ago. I was unemployed due
to cutbacks during the fiscal crisis. I read an article in The Grand Rapids Press newspaper about WRC and the services they provided. I was interested in WRC because of the career services they offered, their convenient location, and there was no charge to use their services. Also, and maybe most importantly, it appealed to me because it sounded like a welcoming and encouraging environment.
What services did you participate in that you found most helpful?
M: I attended workshops which were always informative, but the most helpful service has been working with a mentor, Jan, during my job search.
What successes have you experienced as a result of working with the Women’s Resource Center?
M: I have landed new jobs, received support and encouragement, and gained insight into my own strengths as well as areas where I could improve.
For you, what makes Women’s Resource Center different from other organizations that assist with workforce development?
M: WRC always has a positive and encouraging focus. Without fail, I could walk into WRC and be greeted and welcomed warmly. During times of unemployment and job searching, it is so uplifting to have those positive boosts to motivate you to keep moving forward.
If you could tell donors and supporters anything, what would that be and how would you thank them?
M: I believe WRC benefits women in all stages of life throughout our community. It is difficult to describe the benefits
of working with a mentor in analytical terms. Certainly, working with mentors as part of a job search resulted in good, stable employment with excellent benefits. However, I would add that working with a mentor creates a pathway where wisdom can join the journey. I came to realize that my work and life experience is valuable and that I have many talents and strengths that I can draw upon in a variety of situations and then make beneficial contributions. I am so grateful for WRC, and will always be thankful for all donors and supporters for ensuring this service is available in our community.
Margaret’s story wouldn’t be possible without Jan, her mentor. Volunteer mentors, like Jan, play a critical role
in helping women successfully reenter the community. Our center wouldn’t be able to do what it does without these wonderful mentors.
How did you get connected with the Women’s Resource Center?
J: The Women’s Resource Center was recommended by two different friends who were familiar with WRC’s programs. They felt that WRC fit me perfectly with my professional background and my focus on relationships that would provide a meaningful volunteer experience. How right they were, as I also personally grew through the experience.
In what ways has your participation in the Women Mentoring Women program impacted your career?
J: When I started as a volunteer I had been retired one year. Becoming a mentor started a new chapter of my
life with a new meaning. As a volunteer, I found enrichment in assisting women with their life transitions. This helped me grow personally in my perspective on how each person’s journey has unique challenges. It is invaluable to have a trusted person guide a woman through these challenges with a positive relationship.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of your mentorship?
J: The most rewarding aspect is developing incredible relationships with amazing and courageous women. Helping mentees with important decisions to overcome barriers, find their confidence, and pursue a secure life of value is so meaningful. I’ve been volunteering for a long time, and it’s still rewarding and an honor to have women return for consultation and guidance.
What would you tell someone who is considering participating in the mentorship program at WRC?
J: The mentorship program at WRC is a valuable service that you will not find anywhere else. You will be surprised by how it will assist you in discovering your own skills. Don’t miss out on the unique experience of a personal consultation for the direction of your career and affirmation to become the best you can be. It is during the best parts of our lives that we often miss or underestimate how volunteer opportunities may be important turning points in our personal development. WRC mentorship offers opportunities for women to discover themselves and how to work on creating a fulfilled life.