Volunteer Spotlight: Kelsey

Kelsey’s interest in social services began while she was studying entertainment law at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law and got involved in a program that assisted individuals from Downtown Los Angeles nonprofits and shelters to launch micro-businesses. She enjoyed the opportunity to work with others to achieve financial independence and, upon graduating, began to look into ways to continue volunteering in a similar capacity. Soon after, she learned about Chrysalis.

While at Pepperdine, she had spent a great deal of time perfecting her resume and preparing for job interviews in the university’s Career Development Office and has since become a mentor to other law students. These experiences make her especially knowledgeable when it comes to helping clients write resumes and practice interviewing. “It was a skill set I had developed that I thought could be helpful in the community at large.”

Kelsey explained that in many of her interactions with clients, she does not shy away from discussing convictions and gaps in employment history, ensuring clients can navigate those tough conversations more easily during interviews.

“During employment gaps, clients may not have had a formal job, but they have lots of other valuable experience that we can use to fill that gap. For example, if they were taking care of their kids or aging parents,, that’s caretaking. If they were incarcerated and worked in prison, a lot of folks don’t realize we can include that on their resume without saying they worked in prison – we simply note their employer was the State of California. It’s very rare that a client was actually doing nothing during an employment gap.”

Though she loves her one-on-one time with clients, as a practicing attorney, Kelsey’s schedule has not always allowed the time for volunteering. However, that hasn’t deterred her from staying involved over the years. When she had to take a break due to a job change and then to have her son, she set her sights on Chrysalis’ young professionals giving circle: Kaleidoscope. Kaleidoscope was formed in early 2019 as an alternative way for young people to get involved, as many do not have the flexibility to volunteer on weekdays this early in their careers.

“I love telling people about Chrysalis, and a big part of Kaleidoscope is outreach, so I just thought that would be a great way for me to bring awareness to Chrysalis and stay engaged when I did not have as many hours available in my weeks.”

One of her first contributions to the group was a “Pants Party,” to which she invited her colleagues and friends to a cocktail hour and requested donations of professional attire for Chrysalis’ Resource Rooms or monetary donations as admission. The night was a success, with nearly 30 attendees!

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced much of the world to put a hold on events, Kaleidoscope members like Kelsey had to hit pause on their ideas for bigger donation drives this summer. She also found herself in the middle of another job transition, making the experience of finding new employment that much fresher for her. So, when virtual volunteering began, Kelsey quickly reached out to our Volunteer & Program team to get started.

“I just went through the job search process myself, so I’m able to tell clients about similar interview questions I was asked and how I approached them. I feel very close to the process since I’ve gone through it so recently.”

For her, the opportunity to deliver remote services has reopened the ability to work with clients on a more regular basis. Whether she is volunteering in-person or virtually, however, her dedication to Chrysalis and our clients is clear.

“The clients motivate me to find the time and ability to keep up my work with Chrysalis. They may think I’m here to help them, but witnessing them show up and put in the hard work on their resumes and practice interviews is like pressing my ‘recharge’ button.”

And, ultimately, Kelsey’s hope is that clients will find success in their job hunts and careers and, in turn, start a chain reaction of serving the community.