Woodstock Area Job Bank

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I got a call from Anne at the high school last week. She had Zack in her office. Zack needed to work off some community service hours and she was wondering if the Job Bank knew of anything that was available.


It was Thursday, just a few minutes before I was done for the day. Community service wasn’t something the Job Bank had ever really worked with before. I could have just politely said “no,” that we didn’t have anything at the moment, and thanked Anne for thinking of us.


I said, “What kind of community service is he looking for?”

“Pretty much anything. Zack is in trouble. He has to complete 20 hours of community service. He’s not a bad kid. He did something stupid. I imagine his parents are furious with him.”


Quickly trying to think of possibilities, I asked, “What does he like to do? Is he an outdoor kid?”


I could hear Anne talking with Zack in the background, “I would say yes.”


“Wait,” I thought, “I need help here. As a matter a fact, ever since I came to the Job Bank in October I have been trying to do a complete update of the contacts in our database. It was slow going. I could use                             Zack, if he was willing.”


“I could use him here at the Job Bank,” I said, trying to think of any obstacles. “It would have to be daytime hours. We could do two mornings during vacation week. If he is willing to make phone calls.” I held my breath.


Mumble, mumble… “Yes he can do that.”


“Great! Tell Zack I will see him then and I will put out some feelers to see if I can find something else for the additional hours he needs.”


I hung up the phone, a little stunned by what had just happened. I envisioned trying to keep a restless high school student busy for eight hours in my little office. I’d figure something out. Maybe he could get that old extra computer up and online for me, maybe he could…. I would just have to wait and see.


I made several phone calls and discovered Ascutney Outdoors would be happy to have Zack as well. They needed lots of extra help to keep their free rope-tow open for skiing during school vacation week.


There is a lot of talk about giving students real-life experiences. There is a lot of need for volunteers in the world of non-profits. There is a lot of talk about building community.


Zack and I are actually going to accomplish all of those things in eight— possibly long—hours at the Job Bank.


You know that other big topic that keeps coming up about keeping young people in Vermont? Think about this: Zack will grow up. Zack probably will leave Vermont at some point, but when he is ready to settle down and raise his kids he will remember that his community supported him when he made a mistake. That one thing, might be enough to bring him home.


Until next week,

Beth Crowe

Director Woodstock Area Job Bank

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