Our Jobs Club is led by CHI volunteers Anna Ginsberg and Wahid Rashad. Wahid brings to our program decades of experience as a counselor and employment specialist working with at-risk populations.
In his own words, Wahid shares the impact that volunteering with The Chicago Help Initiative has made in his life and the people we serve:
“Throughout my life there has been one common thread: community service. Born in Arkansas, raised in Chicago and educated on the south side, I attended Hyde Park High School and started volunteering as a tutor. I went on to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I was a youth worker and co-founder/president of Black Student Union. After a move to New York City, I worked as a drug rehabilitation counselor and co-founded the New York State Substance Abuse Counselors Association, and then as a counselor and employment coordinator in the Criminal Justice system in Baltimore. Since returning to Chicago, I’ve been a volunteer at Lawson House and, since this past summer, with The Chicago Help Initiative, where I work with the Jobs Club program.
“Immediately, I saw the depth and breadth of The Chicago Help Initiative’s impact on the people it serves. People who are not living month to month, but day to day. Poverty at this level becomes what James Baldwin called a state of ‘resisting and resenting it and trying to maintain an equilibrium in it.’ The Chicago Help Initiative is an oasis from that stress, from the indignity of being down, from feeling hopeless. To be in an environment where one is respected, valued and encouraged is very meaningful and important. The nourishment of the meals it serves is not merely physical but also social, spiritual and psychological. The Chicago Help Initiative, more than feeding people, is about uplifting lives. I am happy to be a part of this help and process. I get so much spiritually from working with and for others.”