Thanks to a new program requirement, residents in the YWCA Liberty House program provided nearly 2,000 hours of community service to Williamsport in the past year.
Since 2003, the YWCA Liberty House program has taught the social, personal and professional skills to help homeless women and women with children become self-sufficient.
A recent addition to the addition to the program was requiring unemployed participants to complete 15 volunteer hours in the community per week. Since the inception of the practice a year ago, Liberty House residents provided a total of 1,815 hours of service to other nonprofit groups in the community. Residents are responsible for contacting agencies and applying for their own volunteer positions, in addition to being a reliable and dependable asset to that agency. The concept behind this practice came when Mae-Ling Kranz, YWCA program director, realized the need for more structure in preparing residents for a stable future.
"We believe that investing in one's community and remaining active is required for one to become a productive part of society," Krantz said. "Spending time in the community is vital to mental health and happiness, which is perhaps the biggest factor to remaining self-sufficient. Volunteering with other area organizations allows women to feel invested and connected to the city, and provides the potential for friendships and mentorships when they exit our program."
Liberty House defines self-sufficiency as having reliable income and dependable housing. For some women, reliable income means full-time employment - and each woman who can work is required to job search as well. For residents who are unable to earn an income due to disability, volunteering allows them to find a niche that fits their abilities and their desires, while building relationships that will improve their quality of life.
"We are very proud of the contribution Liberty House residents have given our community and the women truly find satisfaction and enjoyment in volunteering," Kranz said.