Hanno Holm volunteers at the Mission four days a week. He was born in Germany and moved to Colorado more than 12 years ago. He has worked in the food and nutrition industry since 2003 and is currently pursuing his doctoral degree in business administration.
Will you describe your role tutoring the men in the New Life Program?
I help participants prepare for their reentry into work. We help them identify suitable professions, prepare their resumes and cover letters and conduct mock interviews. I am very impressed with the [Mission’s] standards of teaching and the outcomes. Our work impacts the participants in different ways. In some cases, the men have not had structured jobs, so we have to start from scratch to create a professional identity. In many cases, it has been useful to ask them what their passion is and go from there. If we can give them the confidence to embark on this next adventure instead of falling back into old habits, then we will have helped them immensely.
How has your experience volunteering at the Mission impacted you personally?
It is really quite humbling to work with the participants and find out that they come from all walks of life. They are also very polite and grateful for the opportunity at the Mission. It really made me think that it is easy to “fall off the wagon” in our society, and we should help, not judge, those who temporarily do. I have learned that the problem of homelessness on the streets is only one part of it, and that there is a wider issue of people losing their homes when they lose their jobs. I will certainly be more vigilant with friends and acquaintances in the future when I notice that somebody is struggling in life. It is not a long journey from being late for work a few times to experiencing eviction, as sad as it is.
What is your favorite part about volunteering with the Mission and how would you encourage others to get involved?
My favorite part is the feeling of community and togetherness, and people are genuinely having fun! There is always some friendly banter and joking, as in any community at ease with itself. I look forward to coming in every morning. If you can make the time and you want to make a real difference in people’s lives, then go for it. It is a great help to the staff, as a lot of one-on-one time is needed. I certainly feel that this is about the most meaningful thing I have done in the last 25 years.
This post is part of April’s Changing Lives Newsletter. In this special Easter edition, The Time to Heal, you’ll read about a current Mission staff member and NLP graduate, Eric, whose biggest motivation to overcome a 30-year battle with alcoholism was his son, Christian.