When Anne Moran landed a new job, she felt no impulse to leave behind her role as a volunteer at the New Community Family Resource Success Center.
Initially placed at the Family Resource Success Center as part of the Community Work Experience Program (CWEP), Moran quickly became Director Joann Williams-Swiney’s point person for anyone seeking help paying their energy bills through NJ SHARES. NJ SHARES is a nonprofit that partners with authorized provider agencies, such as NCC, to help families in a financial crisis pay their electric and gas bills with a grant of up to $1,200.
As a CWEP participant, Moran was assigned to the Family Resource Success Center in April of 2014 to improve her employability through structured activities that provide a direct community service. Under Williams-Swiney’s guidance, Moran learned the ins and outs of the NJ SHARES application process. When a client walks in or arrives for an appointment, Moran launches into a lengthy process where she conducts a pre-screening interview, collects a stack of paperwork that documents the client’s eligibility, scans it, enters information into the agency’s database, fields questions from the client and keeps tabs on the application so she can eventually inform her client that the application has either been approved or denied.
Assisting with NJ SHARES is not every volunteer’s cup of tea, Williams-Swiney noted. But Moran has patiently learned the ropes.
“It makes me feel good,” Moran said with a big grin. “It makes me feel like I’ve done my job.”
Moran expressed thanks to Williams-Swiney “for giving me a chance and opening her door to me. She said, ‘treat it like a job,’ and that’s what I did.”
Earlier this year, when Williams-Swiney received word that New Community Home Friends was looking to hire, she asked Moran if she was interested in the job and petitioned for Moran as a worthy candidate, based on her volunteer work at the center for a year.
“She not only treated it like a job, she treated it as a personal effort to help others who were struggling,” said Williams-Swiney, who described Moran as a trustworthy and valuable member of the center.
A Newark resident, Moran said she previously worked as an administrative assistant at a church in Linden but went on medical leave in 2009 after being diagnosed with cancer and undergoing other subsequent surgeries. While unemployed, Moran said she survived on a patchwork of income from food stamps and her eldest son’s Supplemental Security Income.
As a Home Friend, Moran works with tenants in Newark living at NCC senior and disabled adult complexes known as Commons Senior and Associates on South Orange Avenue as well as at private residences on South 11th Street.
“So far it’s been light cleaning. I can handle that,” Moran, 46, said.
But after her 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift, Moran heads straight to the Family Resource Success Center, which is located inside the Pathmark Shopping Complex at 131-185 Bergen St. in Newark.
“I will probably be here for a long time. I love it here,” she said.