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Ursuline sisters helping unemployed

January 20, 2011
By J.T. Whitehouse
The Ursuline Center, 4200 Shields Road in Canfield Township will play host to a newly formed support group for unemployed persons. It will offer support while looking for a job or making a career change.

According to spokesperson Eileen Novotny, “The idea for the support group came out of the Ursuline Center Board Program Development Committee. Since their founding by St. Angela Merici 475 years ago, the Ursuline Sisters have adapted their ministries and efforts in response to the needs of the communities with whom they serve.”

She said the board was hearing almost daily reports of the high level of unemployment and underemployment in the Mahoning Valley and they wanted to do something to help.

“We wanted to reach out provide a supportive setting for individuals looking for jobs,” Novotny said. “We wanted to offer a place to gather for conversation, the chance to network, and provide information and help them find employment. We also hope to help people realize that worth as persons is not tied to their job.”

The group plans to meet weekly on Wednesdays from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Ursuline Center. The meetings will continue as long as there is a need. At this point, the expectations are for a moderate participation of a dozen or so, but Novotny said there is really no way of telling how many will come.

She added that the Ursuline Center will provide hospitality and support, but will not be competing with agencies like Mahoning One Stop in the Boardman Plaza.

“We are aware of the good job that Mahoning One Stop provides and we have no intention of trying to duplicate their services,” Novotny said. “In fact ,we are asking them to share some of their resources and we will refer individuals to them when appropriate. The agenda for our group will be based on the stated needs of the participants. If they express an interest in hearing from experts in various fields, we will do our best to surface people who can offer that advice.”

She added that the real goal of the program is providing support.

“Being without work is devastating not just financially, but socially, spiritually, and emotionally,” she said. “Our top goal is to provide support and a hospitable setting for anyone who is in the process of seeking employment. Hopefully we can help with information, resources, and supportive presence and help participants access other groups both governmental and private until they find a job. We are unique in that we will have a network of Ursuline sisters and their partners in ministry praying for them and as the ad says 'that’s priceless'!”



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