Monday, March 31, 2014

Anne Hodder: Enabling Others with Chrysalis in LA

Name: Anne Hodder

What is your job?
I own a boutique PR firm called Hodder Media, which handles marketing, PR, copywriting and other creative services for a variety of industries – but I specialize in the business of pleasure. Pleasure products, specifically.

What social causes are most important to you?
Unless I’m of service in some way, I feel kind of useless, so over the years I’ve connected with a few social causes. Supporting and promoting the arts and sharing them with those who might not otherwise have had the opportunity has been a big one. I was fortunate to have had parents who believed strongly in the power of art and helped me cultivate my own appreciation – and definition – of it without shoving it down my throat, and I feel very passionate about paying it forward, in a sense.

Most recently I’ve been exploring ways to promote social change from a different angle. With unemployment and homelessness rates steadily high, there is an urgent need to provide long-term solutions – life and job skills necessary to becoming self-sufficient – as an essential supplement existing social services, and that’s where my focus is today.    
What charity do you support – and how?
I volunteer with a nonprofit called Chrysalis in Los Angeles, which provides resources and hands-on support to low-income and homeless individuals to help them get on their feet by teaching them the skills necessary for finding (and keeping) a job.

Every week I work one-on-one with clients to create resumes, practice job interviews, offer job skills training, teach computer skills, and genuinely boost their confidence levels. Soon I'll be teaching a course in cover letter writing.

And at the end of January, I will be one of 30 mentors in Chrysalis' annual Women's Empowerment Program, which inspires, prepares and supports female clients as they enter the workforce -- some for the very first time. 

Why do you have a passion for this one in particular, is there a personal tie?
I recently moved to Downtown Los Angeles, one block from skid row, and come face to face with homelessness (sometimes literally) every day. It was uncomfortable and difficult to see at first, but it couldn’t be ignored – and when I learned that my writing and communication skills could be valuable tools for making a difference, I signed up right away. Plus Chrysalis’ Downtown headquarters is two blocks away from my apartment.
Is there a particular way you would want to encourage readers to be involved?
In the time it takes to finish an episode of HBO’s “Girls,” you can inspire, motivate and educate a Chrysalis client to take the next necessary step out of his or her current situation. Whether it’s to help build someone’s very first resume or simply chat about job goals, an hour goes a long way – and it doesn’t take much of your own time. But for those unable to offer one-on-one help, Chrysalis has broken down the costs of every free service it offers so that anyone, anywhere, can make a difference with a donation. $25 gets one hour of computer training, while $500 gets 20 hours of job prep classes – anything and everything helps.
How would you define social responsibility?
There’s a sense of social responsibility that comes with having something that others don’t – be it a skill, talent or a million dollars – and I feel it’d be a true waste not to share it in some way. You’re not truly living until you’re of service in some way, and that can be as simple as helping your parents carry the groceries or as committed as volunteering at the animal shelter every Thursday. Helping to improve the life of another person (or animal) with no expectation of reciprocation is kindness in its truest form, and is as healing, inspiring and contagious for you as it is for others.

Do you have any tattoos that relate to your social work?  
While they don’t directly relate to my social work, my tattoos are big and vibrant, which ended up working in my favor during my time teaching art skills to chronically ill kids through Kids’ curiosity dramatically outweighs their nerves, and poking at my tattoos served as a perfect ice breaker.

Your artist?
Paul Dhuey at Katana Tattoo in Green Bay, Wisc. – he’s my main artist

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