Thanks to MEND, Rose Ortiz found a position she loves at the Los Angeles ORT College in Van Nuys. “I owe it to them,” says the 23-year-old administrative assistant. “I was doing research at MEND’s resource center when I heard about it.”
That was earlier this year, and since then Ortiz, a San Fernando Valley native, has been working at the non-profit school. (The college’s mission is to help with the “educational and vocational needs of diverse students in the shortest time possible,” according to its website.) “We help people complete their high school degrees, sometimes in weeks,” says Ortiz. “But it’s not just that, we can get them into associate degree programs.”
As she looked for work, MEND assisted Ortiz with preparing resumes and cover letters. But perhaps most important, the organization was available with more basic needs. At the time, she says, it wasn’t always easy providing food, diapers and clothing for her now two year old daughter, Milah Rose. “I didn’t have money, but I’d go to MEND, and I was always able to find outfits and PJs for my girl,” says Ortiz. “It was great.” In addition, Ortiz says she was able to pick up things for herself, which helped her employment search. “I got jackets and clothing so I could go on interviews and dress right.”
As a result of the help she received from MEND, Ortiz makes it a point to give back to the organization. She drops off flyers about ORT College, and hopes to start putting together job fairs. In particular, though, she says she likes to donate clothing. “They were so nice and so helpful, I want to make sure I can give back,” she says. “MEND makes you feel that way.
In fact, says Ortiz, that may be MEND’s greatest gift—helping people change their outlook. “Once you get involved with MEND, you realize all the resources they have, and what they can really do,” she says. “It offered help when I really needed it, and I have become much more positive.”
By Volunteer Bill Kelley