Volunteer Stories

A simple act could have an immediate impact.” – Jessica L. Jimmo

We had the opportunity to meet Jessica L. Jimmo, exiting Board Member. She has been an essential anchor to Working Gear’s advisory team. Jessica has been a volunteer for almost a decade. For an organization conceived just 12 years ago the numbers alone speak to her dedication and belief in the simple but mighty mission of Working Gear.

 

Today, few of us remember how heavily hit North America was by the Great Recession of 2008-09. What began as a response to the collapse of the United State’s real estate market also tore apart our British Columbia workforce. There was a sharp increase in unemployment from 4.6% in 2007 to 7.7%  just one year later in 2008 [link Via https://www.statista.com/statistics/569373/unemployment-rate-british-columbia-canada/] and so many men and women lost their livelihood. 

Recovery although consistent has only now returned to its pre-crisis rate. But the business world has changed. Employers are economical which forever shifted the work environment.

Unemployment rates

Graphic from https://www.statista.com

Jessica L. Jimmo knows how Working Gear has struggled to normalize and provide a sense of trust. When a candidate is given the tools that polish their look, cautious employers simply feel reassured. That’s an important but hard to measure benefit that endears the community, both clients and partner associations to Working Gear.

Jessica L. Jimmo reflects on her years with Working Gear.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED WITH WORKING GEAR AS A VOLUNTEER & BOARD MEMBER?

Nine years, 6 months, give or take. 

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO HELP THIS CAUSE?

I was motivated by people, the people we were serving and the people sitting around the board table. I was in awe of the resilience and good-will of the people who came through the Working Gear doors.  I was inspired by the dedication, compassion and integrity of the group of people who had been drawn together around Working Gear. 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION? 

It’s how a simple act could have an immediate impact. I was drawn to the idea that a pair of boots could be given a second life and create an opportunity for someone who is ready to step on a job site and work towards financial stability.

WHAT IS THE TRUE IMPACT OF WORKING GEAR IN THE COMMUNITY?

All of what Working Gear is now was born out of the simple idea that all someone who was ready to work needed was a pair of boots to confidently walk on a job site and ask for the job they were qualified to do. 

It’s not about giving someone a fish or teaching them to fish, it was and always will be about giving them the fishing rod they needed to be successful. It’s about showing people dignity and giving them the tools to be able to reach for the opportunity. 

AND LASTLY,  AS THE OUTGOING BOARD MEMBER WHAT ADVICE OR MESSAGE WOULD YOU LIKE TO GIVE TO THE CURRENT BOARD MEMBERS AND/OR THE NEW BOARD MEMBERS?

That sometimes you need to go slow to go fast. Big change happens through a series of smaller steps. 

boots

In 2009 British Columbia needed the commitment of volunteers like Jessica L. Jimmo to bring Working Gear clients to a place where like the last recession, the darker days can be forgotten.

This is how YOU can make a lasting difference. Volunteerism, donations and spreading awareness. Jessica L. Jimmo’s legacy ensures that these small acts can be intelligently leveraged by Working Gear. If you are curious about how this is achieved we encourage you to learn more. [link: https://workinggear.ca/blog/5-reasons-you-know-your-donation-is-in-the-right-hands/]

“Working Gear is not complicated. We operate on very little. Our administrative team is small and our rent is negotiated to be very competitive. By carefully managing our administration costs any donations, whether financial or in-kind, go directly toward our services.”

 

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