A couple of years ago, when Catherine Kilian saw a volunteer opportunity on her church’s website to serve as a job coach at Raleigh Rescue Mission, she immediately sensed that it might be right up her alley. A recent graduate of NC State, her own experience with preparing and searching for the right job was all very fresh. One of her pastors at Vintage Church connected Catherine with Chris Hill, who explained the Mission’s Jobs for Life curriculum. She began to sit in on some of the classes and work with the students. Today Catherine spends several hours each week facilitating classes, coaching students, and keeping the course running smoothly. And she does this as a volunteer while managing a rapidly-growing business with her mom and planning her Fall wedding.
“At first, I didn’t really know what I was doing,” says Catherine humbly. “I had never taught ANYTHING. I was so nervous, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to relate to the clients. I’ve had my own roadblocks, but I’ve never experienced homelessness. Many of the clients have been through things I can’t even imagine. But God has been so active, giving me confidence and motivation to prepare, to make it worthwhile for the clients. I’m still shocked and amazed that the students are listening to me! I’ve acquired skills I didn’t have before and I think I’ve found the place that the Lord wants me to give my time.”
According to Chris Hill, RRM’s Director of Counseling Services, “Catherine just brings a whole new element to Jobs for Life. She’s technology savvy and extremely well organized. She genuinely loves the clients and they love and readily respond to her too. She’s been a huge help for our staff.”
Catherine believes in Jobs for Life’s focus on “dignity in work.” It’s been liberating for her to teach others about using the gifts that God gives us. She’s been able to watch clients gain confidence, secure jobs, and start to sustain themselves and their families, sometimes for the very first time.
“I’m grateful to be allowed to stay with it, to be creative and have input, instead of just showing up for one small volunteer thing and then leaving,” Catherine continues. “I believe the Lord wants me invested in His work, not just checking the box. I’m trying to be submissive to that guidance. COVID has been a real challenge, but now that vaccinations are progressing, our Raleigh community needs volunteer efforts to ramp up once again. The Mission’s New Life Plan resonates with me because it allows clients to get a fresh start, find sustainable jobs, then transportation and housing. The model really does set people up for success.”
We at Raleigh Rescue are so grateful to Catherine and all of our volunteers and partners. We couldn’t do what we do without you. To learn more about ways to help, visit our volunteer page.