“I knew I was committed to Chrysalis after I attended my volunteer orientation,” shares Eshaan, one of Chrysalis Orange County’s volunteers. From the moment he caught sight of the bell displayed in the lobby, he knew he wanted to be part of clients’ journeys to ringing it when they found a job.
Eshaan’s interest in helping others was inspired by his own parents’ journey when they immigrated to the United States. “My parents came to this country with little money and few connections. I witnessed, first-hand, the difficulty of upward mobility and achieving the ‘American Dream,’” he explains. Though he did not directly face the same challenges as his parents, their stories made Eshaan empathetic to those who are navigating their own personal circumstances. “My parents did not have a resource like Chrysalis, and they sacrificed a lot to give me an education. I can use what I have learned to give back.”
Eshaan began studying business with an emphasis in finance and computer science at Chapman University. After conducting and publishing research on the lack of financial literacy in Southern California high schools, he gave a TEDx Talk about his findings and started his own nonprofit, Dollars a Day, holding personal savings workshops for local students. But he couldn’t help but feel that there was more he could do. Though the information he was sharing was important, he felt that he didn’t necessarily have tangible proof that it was helping.
When he found Chrysalis, he saw that the organization shared his same goal of preparing individuals with real-life skills that would help them along their paths to self-sufficiency. Unlike before, he could see the positive impact services were having on clients’ lives.
Facilitating job readiness classes came naturally to him, but he wanted to be more involved and really get to know the clients. From the first time he shadowed a resume-writing session, Eshaan loved seeing how an individual’s whole attitude about themselves could shift just by having the tools they needed to begin applying for jobs. In the one hour he spent with the client, Eshaan saw their confidence and excitement grow exponentially, and he wanted to be part of the impact. Now, every Wednesday, Eshaan can be found at Chrysalis Orange County facilitating Job Search Ready, as well as working with clients to write their resumes and prepare for job interviews in a one-on-one setting.
“Through Chrysalis, I’m able to be part of the process of finding suitable employment for our clients.”
With his background in financial literacy and money management, Eshaan has a keen focus on long-term growth when working with clients. He encourages clients to reflect on where they’d like to see their careers in five years, then helps them set short-term goals and look for jobs that may be stepping stones toward that five-year goal. He believes it is important for clients to know they can aim for jobs that are in line with their interests and aspirations. “If clients find the right job for them, they’re more likely to stay at their job and even get promoted over time. When someone is unemployed, they can’t save, so the first step to helping them succeed is helping them find the best-fit job.”
There are many more aspects of volunteering at Chrysalis that Eshaan likes, but most of all he enjoys the learning lessons shared between himself and clients. Though at Chrysalis he’s a teacher, Eshaan knows each client possesses a world of knowledge and experience; when they’re willing to share, he is more than open to listening. “I’m a lot younger than most of my clients,” he begins. “I’m challenged to think differently when clients present me with scenarios that I usually wouldn’t have to deal with. So while I do facilitate [job-readiness classes], I also learn a lot from my clients.”