Guest Blog: Feeling Empowered Through Volunteering

 By Michele C. McHugh, First Step Volunteer
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Over the past three years I’ve had the opportunity of facilitating many different workshops that the First Step Job Training Program offers to homeless and low income women, including “Getting Along with Co-Workers,” “Positive Workplace Attitudes” and “Successful Telephone Techniques.” Each time I visit the Coalition’s space on Fulton Street, I take something very powerful away with me: What they’re doing there matters and I’m very fortunate to be a part of that.

I had first heard about the Coalition for the Homeless years ago while studying at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and was always curious about how I could get involved. Three years ago I began working in the Education Department of Bumble and bumble, one of the Estee Lauder Companies, and I learned that they were a long-time supporter of the Coalition. “Partnerships and bringing the best to everyone we touch” is The Estee Lauder Companies’ mission, and it was through the Company that I was actually introduced to the Coalition and began mentoring with First Step.

Each time I leave a First Step session, I feel empowered knowing that the support and dedication that these women are receiving is paramount. And when I see the smiles on their faces and the looks in their eyes after a successful workshop has ended, I know that they are leaving with more knowledge than they came with. And that is powerful.

I will continue to dedicate my time to First Step and other programs that the Coalition for the Homeless offers to New York City’s more than 51,000 homeless men, women and kids. It’s through these partnerships that we, together, make a difference!