Kiel Willmore and Dr. Maureen Rice, Counseling and Career Center
I had two main objectives for my creative project when I received an ORCA grant earlier this year. First, the project was aimed towards helping local single mothers, who not having the chance to obtain a secondary education, create skills-based resumes rather than education or experience-based resumes in order to help them obtain greater career options. I was hoping that by providing such service, it would not only help lift the community around us, but that it would bless the lives of single mothers’ families and help bolster them towards more fruitful careers.
The second objective of receiving the grant was to create a service organization aimed at providing non-profit service and ongoing support to local single mothers in the future. I think that this population (single mothers) is a group that is often treated with only financial help through receiving government aid. Instead, I wish to create an organization that is focused on providing a long-term service that will benefit them in the future.
With the help of my mentor, a counselor at Brigham Young University’s Career Center who regularly teaches resume workshops and classes, I was provided with ample resources and training for creating a resume workshop that helped single mothers focus on their work experience and skills. Using the funding provided, I created a simple packet that outlined resume examples and other helpful tips for creating such a resume.
After preparing the actual workshop, I focused my time on finding a suitable venue for presentation. Although my initial plan was to rent a room at BYU, the Associate Dean of my college recommended that doing so might discourage any non-LDS single mothers from attending, as well as anybody else who might be intimidated by the university-scene. Following the advice, I sent a letter to several local community centers with a request to rent a room for use. After a few days, a center in south Provo happily responded to my inquiry and offered their facilities for use.
The biggest hurdle for my project was advertising. The actual advertisement for the resume workshop was easily made with the help of a few of my peers who are graphic design majors. The problem came with trying to advertise to a fairly limited audience (single mothers). I contacted the local W.I.C. offices in Utah County and had fliers posted in their offices. I also sent fliers to other federal aid offices (Medicare). I also provided local pediatricians, dentists, and other medical providers with advertisements. The community center that I was working with also provided a list of single mothers who regularly attended their activities and had provided their contact information in order to be informed of events held at the community center.
On the actual day of the resume workshop, I was surprised at the actual attendance numbers. Regrettably, attendance was far less than I expected. After the schedules workshop, I discussed the poor turnout with a counselor at the community center and we tried narrowing down what lead to the low attendance. She mentioned that low income families usually need to be called the day of whatever event is scheduled and reminded frequently of the event. This is a step that I failed to do primarily because I did not have an entire list of phone numbers for single mothers living in the area. I am still thinking about how to solve this problem. I think a possible solution is to require those who wish to attend the workshop to RSVP through email so that I could later contact them and receive their contact information.
Another solution that the counselor recommended was getting a list of single, LDS mothers from local bishops. I have pursued this solution a little and every bishop that has provided a list of names has been very excited about providing the workshop, but I feel like this only partially resolves my problem because I do not want to only focus on providing service to LDS people. This project has been aimed at providing a workshop to the entire community and I do not want to bias my audience towards solely an LDS population.
Although the first workshop was minimally successful, the second objective of my project has been thoroughly fulfilled. The ORCA grant has helped me network with many local leaders and community centers. The community center that supported my project is going to start providing a monthly resume workshop to low income families in their neighborhood. They have invited me to be a part of it and participate in the training. I also have the tools necessary to teach other workshops as soon as I find a resolution to my advertising problem. I have also found the willingness of many individuals who are willing to contribute to these types of projects at all levels in my community. I rarely met anybody with any resistance to the idea. Primarily due to the helpful nature of the service, I have been able to establish many relationships with other community networks that are willing to reach out and help.