Volunteer Spotlight: Billy

A compassionate student, Billy joined the Orange County volunteer team eager to help clients with experience in the criminal justice system and other barriers to employment who are ready to reenter the workforce. Having seen the impacts of homelessness in his hometown of Portland, Oregon, Billy knew that it was important for him to get involved in addressing the issue in Orange County. After speaking to his friend and fellow Orange County volunteer Eshaan, he connected with Chrysalis and found a way to take action.

One of Billy’s favorite parts of volunteering is seeing clients ring the Success Bell. Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, Billy joined staff, fellow volunteers, and other clients as they would come together in the center’s lobby to celebrate a client who had secured a job. He remembers the pride he felt as he watched clients celebrate this momentous occasion and longs for the day he can clap and cheer alongside our clients again.

He also lives for what he refers to as lightbulb moments, when a client realizes their strength and finds confidence. “There are far too many people who are prisoners to the environment they were conceived in, one that neglects their inner talents and strengths. My heart breaks whenever I meet someone who made a misstep in their life,” he shares, “and was met with punishment rather than rehabilitation. It is my goal to help people unlearn any negativity that has been unfairly assigned to them and realize their strengths.” In his conversations with clients, while working on a resume or practicing for an interview, Billy likes to get to know the client outside of what is on their resume. Each interaction is personal with the ultimate goal of helping clients discover their full potential.

As much as Billy has left a memorable impression on the clients he has met with, volunteering at Chrysalis has helped to inform his own pathway in life as well. After seeing how much he enjoys helping people achieve their dreams, he narrowed his focus at Chapman University and decided to become a talent agent.

Despite his busy schedule as a student, once the pandemic hit, Billy decided to double down and commit to daily volunteering with clients. His passion for criminal justice reform drives his dedication to doing as much as he can to help clients reenter the workforce. “There are so many brilliant people out there and we are missing out on so many brilliant ideas and amazing contributions by having people trapped in the criminal justice system,” says Billy. “We should all do whatever we can to break down these institutions of oppression.”

In fact, he once shared his passion with an individual that he met at a gym who had been a former gang member. His new friend knew of someone in need of Chrysalis’ services and, upon Billy’s referral, he joined our job-readiness program. Before he knew it, Billy was cheering him on at our center. He can’t think of a prouder moment than seeing that client – with whom he had also worked refining his resume and preparing for interviews – confidently ring the Success Bell.

Billy plans to be on the volunteer team for years to come. For him, volunteering is one aspect of a lifelong effort dedicated to supporting the reentry population and folks with barriers to the workforce. He believes, It is important not only to help clients who come into Chrysalis, but to also do whatever we can to build a more equitable society.”

We are currently recruiting volunteers to support clients virtually – please click here to learn more.