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Pay It Forward Day – yes, there is such a day with more than 80 countries participating in the celebration of random acts of kindness – was April 28. Dorenda Person can tell you exactly how paying it forward can change someone’s life and why such acts of kindness should be practiced year-round.

Dorenda is one of more than 400 Central Indiana residents who has completed the Employ Up program where she gained the confidence, skills and job readiness expertise to find a new career opportunity as a full-time technical writer. Little did she know that her new career opportunity would come from a former Employ Up program graduate who was looking for a new employee to join his communications team.

“I was fortunate that Steve, an Employ Up grad, announced that his organization had an open Technical Writer position,” Dorenda said. “Because I’m nearing the completion of Technical Communication studies, I felt comfortable applying for the position. I’m told that seven individuals applied for the position, yet I was the selected candidate. Steve has been very supportive, and I can’t thank him enough for reaching back for an Employ Up graduate.”

“Employ Up was a major influence in deciding to complete the IUPUI Technical Communication certificate program,” Dorenda said. “With the encouragement of my Employ Up Career Prep facilitator and an assessment of my skills, I determined that writing, proofreading, and editing was a large percent of my work experience and skillset. I even realized that I actually thoroughly enjoy doing these tasks.

There were many benefits of the Employ Up program, Dorenda said. But when asked to identify what aspect of the program had the most impact, she focused on the benefits of being part of a program that brings together and helps people who have similar obstacles and goals.

“It’s difficult to say that there is one best aspect,” she said. “If I have to select one, it has to be the camaraderie I experienced with others in the same situation. We had fears of the unknown while coping with a loss that once defined who we were. We learned to accept that because of a major life change a new employer or even career might be necessary. This may seem odd, but my fears were validated by my cohorts while I gained confidence on my journey to a new me and a new career.”

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