ROSWELL, Ga. — With companies cutting staff and unemployment claims soaring, more than 100 volunteers are is providing hope for individuals looking to change their current employment status. 

Jay Litton and Katherine Simons are co-leaders of the RUMC Job Networking, part of the Serve Ministry at Roswell United Methodist Church in Roswell.

“We are called to do this,” Simons said.

The ministry offers workshops to help with every aspect of a job search, including interview techniques, crafting resumes and LinkedIn profiles, professional photographs for LinkedIn and even a shop for professional clothing.

“Workshops consist of the nitty gritty, must-know subjects and are being taught be professionals who do that on an everyday basis,” Simon said.

“Losing a job unhinges the moorings of your self-image,” Litton said.

For over three decades, the ministry has offered support and encouragement at the church. With the stay-at-home order in place, Litton and Simons took the program online and now have workshops on Zoom, an online meeting platform.

“A job ministry is timely,” Simons said. “People have been furloughed or out of work.”

There is a three-point focus with RUMC Job Networking, Litton explained.

“First, stay positive,” he said. “A job search is not a positive situation, I don’t care how you dress it up. We encourage them to move forward. We give them [jobseekers], tangible resources and strategies.”

Attendees feel better because they are moving forward in their job search, working on specific things they learned in workshops, Litton said referring to the second focus.

The third focus is God. Litton says the ministry offers a “God Talking.”

“These three things create an experience that they’re loved at a time when they’re not feeling it,” Litton said.

An 11-hour virtual marathon session was held April 27 that included 45-minute workshops, an inspirational moment a lunchtime, a keynote speaker and ended with a resume review. Over 400 people participated, more than any face-to-face gathering.

“The reach of the tentacles is hard to comprehend,” Simons said.

Another marathon session is set for May 11. There will be two 90-minute workshops May 26. Both will be virtual. Details are on the group’s website

“We have become a helping hand to thousands of job seekers, setting them on a path,” Simons said.

Tentative plans for June include reverting to the face-to-face version where dinner is provided for $3 on the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month. Publix, the Rotary Club of Roswell and Hal Coleman are sponsors.

Simons and Litton offer some advice for those who find themselves looking for a new or better opportunity.

“Stay positive, stay healthy,” she said. “Trust God, listen to what God’s trying to tell you about where to go next.”

Litton suggests servitude as a way to stay optimistic.

“Help someone else,” he said. “It’s rewarding to take a little bit of time and help somebody else.”

Denise Ray is a Reporter with Appen Media Group and covers Forsyth county.

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