“I get a lot out of helping people towards what they want to do. Knowing they have choices.” – Irma Botvin, Volunteer
Irma Botvin has been supporting the community for almost six years as a volunteer career coach. Before joining Community Action Marin, she was a career counselor at a hospital. Her desire to volunteer led her to SparkPoint services at Community Action Marin. Explains Irma,
“I came from a background of social work and I was a career counselor. When I became a volunteer, I went through training to learn the difference between coach and counselor. The word, “self-empowerment” is important to me because it’s the process of coaching people to figure out what they can do for themselves.”
Irma’s energetic commitment to helping others is contagious.
When coaching, Irma listens carefully, gives appropriate feedback, encourages clients to delve more deeply into what they want to do, and helps them develop their skills. As one of several coaches on the team, Irma loves being able to contribute alongside others. She believes that being a part of a team is essential as it’s where people can share experiences, ask questions of each other, and offer support.
Irma’s work at Community Action Marin involves helping people who are struggling financially and need assistance finding a job. She helps them move toward being able to afford rent and have some income where they feel more stable. She finds it rewarding when clients tell her they were able to follow through on applying to new jobs or have gotten employment.
Irma knows that her time spent volunteering has an impact. She likes to match people with resources, and she hopes that her work will have a lasting effect. It can be challenging at times, particularly when dealing with clients who have emotional challenges or are in situations that require more resources. She tries to stay up to date on what’s available and partners with other agencies to make warm referrals.
In her free time, Irma loves the outdoors and goes for hikes regularly on Point Reyes or Mount Tam trails. She started learning Spanish as a hobby and now participates in international chats where the groups are conducted only speak Spanish.
Heather Bettini, Senior Director of Economic Justice who supports Irma shares:
“Irma has been a delight to work with—she is a true asset to the Economic Justice team! She is passionate about her volunteering and is a compassionate, dedicated coach who believes in the inner potential of each client. She is extremely talented and asks thoughtful questions. Irma impacts the lives of those she serves in countless ways, and we are so fortunate to have her. Thank you for your service, Irma!”