Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Life & Livelihood" in the Pasadena Star News

Free "Life & Livelihood" program offers emotional support, platform for unemployed
by Janette Williams

PASADENA - With a state unemployment rate still hovering above 10 percent, All Saints Episcopal Church Rector Ed Bacon did the math.

"If you take that figure, and we have 4,000 (parishioners) at All Saints, that means 400 are unemployed, or underemployed," Bacon said. "We have...people who have lost homes, lived in their cars for a while, moved in with relatives or friends, and we thought we ought to offer some kind of project to respond to the needs of our members, and those outside our membership."

The project they developed is Life & Livelihood, designed to support people dealing not just with the loss of a paycheck, but the loss of confidence and self-worth that often goes along with loss of a job, said Sharalyn Hamilton, Director of Stewardship.

"It was affirmed on the first day of the group - people feel a definite decrease in their self-worth, they feel a sense of needing to reinvent themselves without (having) a lot of support, retooling for a new job market, and finding themselves alienated from their own families," Hamilton said. "They often distance themselves. They don't call their mom because they don't want to burden her with how bad it feels."

As the project develops, Bacon said, they will "roll out educational offerings," including finding jobs, financial planning and managing household finances.

"We have a lot of different resources we're going to bring to bear," he said. "At this stage it's a support group, but we're actually letting those people teach us what needs are out there."

Unemployment affects all aspects of people's lives, Hamilton said, and for now the project provides a "safe base" to unburden and regroup.

"We want them to realize they're not alone," she said.

Read the rest here ... and for more infomation on Life & Livelihood, email Linn Vaughan.

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