Maurine Roller is an employee of Curtis & Associates, Inc., a corporation whose mission is to help people who are receiving government assistance to achieve and sustain self-sufficiency. The company encourages its employees to help others through community service. Roller’s service is outside of her responsibilities to her employer, yet Curtis & Associates gives its blessing to her endeavor.
Roller has recently begun her third year of teaching job seeking, job retention, and life management skills to uneducated and undereducated adults in the community. Her work is strictly voluntary, and she has adamantly refused any remuneration, insisting that available funds be used for the benefit of the students. Her service began in the 1996-97 school year, when she initiated a plan with the Adult Basic Education program to strengthen students’ job readiness and life skills through educational workshops.
Roller works with students who are “at-risk.” Many are from home environments that are dysfunctional in the most severe sense, and many are also filled with abuse. The students must overcome many emotional, social and educational obstacles before they can hope to find and keep a job that will sustain them. Roller offers them hope and encouragement through her educational workshops. She has a no-nonsense, effective, and realistic plan for students to move to productive employment. She also addresses social skills needed to maximize their chances for self-sufficiency and independence.
For the past three years, Roller has designed and taught workshops that are held weekly at the Adult Learning Center. They are concrete, hands-on, interactive sessions geared specifically to the needs of the students. She tells it like it is and faces the problems head-on to assist students in determining possible solutions to their predicaments. Throughout her session, she draws on area resources by involving other volunteers in the training, such as employers and other community employees.
The partnership that Roller developed with Adult Basic Education has reached more than 300 students to date. As a result of her efforts, many students who might have had to apply for government assistance have developed the necessary skills to find employment and become financially independent. Many of her students are now working in the immediate or neighboring communities. Other students have gone on to advanced learning situations, trying to secure more marketable employment skills.