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  • Rebecca Flach

Volunteer “graduates” from Helping Harvest into paid employment

Updated: Oct 30, 2021

A job training success story

When Coronavirus crept into the Capital Region, Helping Harvest lost a group of special volunteers. For many years, organizations like The Wildwood Program, ARC and other agencies sent client volunteers to us as part of workforce preparedness. These volunteers helped us sort food products, stock shelves and do other projects. Seemingly overnight, the agencies were forced to stop sending these helpers and we missed them for more than a year.

This spring we got the chance to pass along job skills once again. Dahkota (pictured below) and his support staff person from Northern Rivers, an agency that offers a board range of help and hope to those who struggle with abuse, neglect, trauma, mental health challenges and educational difficulties, began volunteering at Helping Harvest every Wednesday for a few hours. Dahkota and his mom also volunteered on Saturdays. We are thrilled to have their help!

Dahkota said he was very nervous about working at Helping Harvest.

“[Program Manager] Melissa taught me what I would be doing and how to do it,” he said. “I felt very comfortable with Melissa, and she always told me what a great job I was doing.”

Dahkota’s mom, Tammy, was impressed with what her son was learning at Helping Harvest.

“Working at Helping Harvest has taught Dahkota many skills. He had never done anything other than school and being home with me. He had to learn to trust others. When I was looking for a small job for him Melissa said he could volunteer at Helping Harvest. As a mom letting go of a special needs child it was very difficult for me knowing someone else might not understand him as I do,” Tammy said. “I knew Melissa and knew he would be ok. The first day he came home he told me he loved the job, loved Melissa, and was going back. He started asking, “How many more days before I go to work, mom?”’

After a few months of training, Dahkota was ready for a paid job and now works at another grocery store!

“I would like to thank Melissa for taking Dahkota under her wing and teaching him how to do retailing, but most of all to trust and have more confidence in himself. This was a true blessing in his life,” Tammy said.

Our mission at Helping Harvest has always been to give struggling families access to affordable food with dignity. Helping us pull it off are awesome volunteers like Dahkota. All of us at Helping Harvest are so excited to see him blossom and get his first paid job!

If you know of an individual or agency that seeks workforce training opportunities please connect with us. Trainees have lots to do in a supportive, friendly environment.

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