SVdP Reflection – July 2017

If we look at the definition of summer, one of its meanings would describe this season as “a time of fulfillment”. It is a time to witness and enjoy the presence of god through a gentle breeze, a turbulent storm, or as the temperature has testified, some very warm days.

You know, summer seemed younger when we were young. Summers were more fun then, maybe because life was more fun. There was swimming, riding our bikes all day long, hanging out with friends, and having to come home only to eat, sleep, or maybe when it rained. It seems that the older we become, we have to work at catching summer lest it slip through our hands like a hard ball grounder through our glove in the field of our soul. Adult summers are less fun than kid summers. Yet each year summer does come back to life, and life does come back to summer. Summer allows us time. The days are longer, the temperatures are warmer, and the earth’s treasures are nurtured from their spring birth. Summer can break the bonds of logic and allow us to enter into the beauty of god’s creation. It can be a time to let loose of the inhibitions that the other three seasons seem to protect. These short three months invites us to play and relax.

to become mature and developing disciples of Jesus’ demand we take time to rest and enjoy the fruits of god’s creation. Most of our days are filled with busy work and activity. We meet ourselves coming and going in every direction. Some of that is placed upon us by life and circumstances beyond our control, some we place on ourselves to keep our esteems highly recognized. Playfulness, watching the sun rise and set, and savoring the moments in between may be less stressful, but we say it won’t pay the bills, keep the home and property in order, or secure our futures. Workaholism and activity addictions leave us with the temptation that we have plateaued if we do and get “more” done. You know, the Christian life blesses human labor and endorses its dignity, but work that is balanced with leisure and recreation. Without that balance we are not much different than robots who go wherever led. Our cultural value of busyness proves that out.

One final thought. Some years ago our grandmother was visited by one of her 14 grandsons. I asked her if she could, what she would do different in her 99 years of life. Grandma said, “John, I would use my good dishes more and wear my best clothes not just on Sunday.” We, as faithful Vincentians, need to take care of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. In doing this, our ministry of outreach and service will be beneficial to all we meet and give honor and glory to God.


Receptionist

Job Title: Receptionist
Job Category: Non-Exempt
Department/Report to: Administration/HR-Office Manager
Travel Required: None
Location: 1426 6th Ave Des Moines, IA 50314
Work Hours: 8:30 am – 5 pm
Level/Salary Range: $8.50-12.00
Position Type: Full-Time

ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The Receptionist provides general office support with a variety of clerical activities and related tasks. The receptionist will be responsible for answering incoming calls, directing calls to appropriate associates, mail distribution, flow of correspondence, requisition of supplies as well as additional clerical duties.

  • Answers telephones and directs the caller to the appropriate associate. Will transfer a caller to an associate’s voice mailbox when the associate is unavailable
  • Greets visitors warmly and directs them to the requested location/person
  • Make sure reception area is neat and organized
  • Takes and retrieves messages for various personnel. Provides callers with information such as address, directions to the store/classroom locations, fax number, website and other related information
  • Receives, sorts and forwards incoming mail. Maintains and routes publications
  • Coordinates the pick-up and delivery of express mail services (FedEx, UPS, etc.)
  • Assists in the ordering, receiving, stocking and distribution of office supplies
  • Schedules pick-ups as customers call-in, write up weekly stops, keep them arranged ensuring not to overschedule, provide details to truck drivers as well as be prepared to respond to scheduled pick-ups as needed
  • Write thank you letters for donations, etc.
  • Uses a personal computer and a variety of office software applications including word processing, email, and file management. Creates documents in Word or uses predefined templates and form letters. Creates or maintains files in Excel. May create PowerPoint presentations and use Access or other databases
  • Assists with other related clerical duties such as photocopying, faxing, filing and collating
  • Handle phone calls from people calling in sick
  • Gather personal and insurance information
  • Hand out employee applications
  • Arrange appointments
  • Other duties as assigned

QUALIFICATIONS AND EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS

  • High School Diploma or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Must consistently demonstrate the ability and willingness to utilize excellent customer service skills
  • Multi-tasking ability and attention to detail
  • On-time and consistent attendance and punctuality
  • Ability to read, analyze and interpret documents relating to store operations and sales
  • Ability to follow instructions, adhere to policy, and make basic decisions

PREFERRED SKILLS

  • 1 year experience in related field
  • Customer orientation and ability to adapt/respond to different types of characters

WORK ENVIRONMENT

Work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. This job operates in a professional office environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, lifting of boxes (up to 50 pounds), phones, photocopiers, filing cabinets and fax machines. The noise level in the work environment is usually low to moderate.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. This is largely a sedentary role; however, some filing is required. This would require the ability to lift files, open filing cabinets and bend or stand as necessary.


Production Associate

Job Title: Production Associate
Job Category: Non-Exempt
Department/Report to: Retail Operations/Store Supervisor
Travel Required: None
Location: 1426 6th Ave Des Moines, IA 50314
Work Hours: 8:30 am – 5 pm
Level/Salary Range: $8.50 – $13.50
Position Type: Full-Time

ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The Production Associate performs many duties around the store, primarily focused on customer service and in the collection, processing, stocking, and sale of used goods. Production Associates assure the meaningful and timely flow of donated and new goods from the donation center and loading/receiving dock through the production area to the shipping area, stock room or sales floor. Production Associates establish positive relationships with clients and employees to successfully implement St. Vincent de Paul Des Moines available services.

  • Greet donor vehicle courteously and unload donated goods with care
  • Issue receipts to donors as requested
  • Assist with the initial separation and delivery of donated materials to appropriate intake location
  • Communicate to donors why certain items cannot be accepted by St. Vincent De Paul Des Moines
  • Assist in the loading and unloading of donated goods vehicles as needed
  • Price inspected goods for placement onto retail sales floor
  • Sanitizes furniture and domestics as required, including cleaning, dusting and sorting
  • Refer customers’ complaints or inquiries to management
  • Assist customers in locating and/or selecting merchandise
  • Give excellent customer service and remain calm and professional under stressful situations
  • Maintain a safe work environment at all times by following company safety regulations
  • Reports safety hazards to supervisor in a timely manner
  • Immediately report all incidents of theft (both internal and external) to a management team member
  • Responsible for cleanliness and maintenance of all rest rooms, show windows, fitting rooms, back room and dock area, and store exterior including parking areas and entry ways
  • Provides maintenance outdoors including mowing, pulling weeds, trimming hedges and snow removal as needed
  • Report repairs that require outside assistance
  • Cross-train in other departments/areas and act as back-up for other areas as required
  • Attend meetings and training sessions as scheduled
  • Other duties as assigned

QUALIFICATIONS AND EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS

  • High School Diploma or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Must possess and consistently demonstrate the ability and willingness to utilize excellent customer service skills
  • On-time and consistent attendance and punctuality
  • Excellent organization skills
  • Ability to read, analyze and interpret documents relating to store operations and sales
  • Ability to follow instructions, adhere to policy, and make basic decisions

PREFERRED SKILLS

  • 1 year experience in related field
  • Ability to perform basic mathematic al equations is preferred
  • Customer orientation and ability to adapt/respond to different types of characters

WORK ENVIRONMENT

Work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally exposed to weather conditions. The noise level in the work environment is usually low to moderate.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls; reach with hands and arms; climb stairs; balance; stoop; kneel; crouch or crawl; talk or hear. The employee must frequently lift up to 50 pounds
and/or move up to 50 or more pounds. Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.


Social Services Assistant

Job Title: Social Services Assistant
Job Category: Non-Exempt
Department/Report to: Social Services/Social Services Coordinator
Travel Required: None
Location: 1426 6th Ave Des Moines, IA 50314
Work Hours: 8:30 am – 5 pm
Level/Salary Range: $9.00-$14.00
Position Type: Full-Time/Part-Time

ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The Social Services Assistant is responsible for the daily operations of all St. Vincent de Paul Des Moines social services department. They administer programs, and are often involved in researching and analyzing community needs, and designing programs to meet those needs. The Social Service Assistant works directly with clients, providing services and support. The Social Services Assistant must develop a complete understanding of all St. Vincent de Paul Des Moines programs and services and have a strong drive to exceed established targets.

  • Ensure that all performance standards are maintained by making sure that all company policies and procedures are followed and immediate action is taken to address deficiencies
  • Consistently maintain all social services locations as safe, respectful and pleasant environments in which employees work effectively and clients appreciate services
  • Collect data and other information to evaluate program impact
  • Implement procedures and strategies to improve the overall performance at St. Vincent de Paul Des Moines
  • Acquire knowledge of city, county and state resources available
  • Effectively communicate with employees of all levels
  • Enhance the client interaction and experience with all St. Vincent de Paul Des Moines service locations, staff and entities
  • Interview clients applying for financial assistance, rent, utilities, etc.
  • Enter intake material from Social Services on a daily basis
  • Do conference billing monthly and keep record of activity on each conference
  • Fill out appropriate charity forms and reports in a timely manner
  • Treat all telephone and personal contacts with dignity and respect
  • Keep all information on clients, Vincentians and others confidential.
  • Make referrals to General Relief for vouchers for beds and other agencies for needed items
  • Communicate with conferences on a regular basis to establish home visit schedules or list of home visit providers for the conferences
  • Recommend budget counseling when deemed appropriate
  • Make referrals to conferences for assistance for home visits
  • Ensure compliance with all federal, state, and local laws
  • Other duties as assigned

QUALIFICATIONS AND EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS

  • Associates Degree in Human Services or related field or equivalent work experience
  • Must possess and consistently demonstrate the ability and willingness to utilize excellent customer service skills
  • On-time and consistent attendance and punctuality
  • Ability to read, analyze and interpret documents relating to store operations and sales
  • Ability to follow instructions, adhere to policy, and make basic decisions
  • PREFERRED SKILLS

    • 1 year experience in related field
    • Ability to perform basic mathematical equations is preferred
    • Customer orientation and ability to adapt/respond to different types of characters

    WORK ENVIRONMENT

    Work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. This job operates in a professional office environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, filing cabinets and fax machines. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally exposed to weather conditions. The noise level in the work environment is usually low to moderate.

    PHYSICAL DEMANDS

    The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls; reach with hands and arms; climb stairs; balance; stoop; kneel; crouch or crawl; talk or hear. The employee must frequently lift up to 50 pounds
    and/or move up to 50 or more pounds. Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.


Education Center Assistant

Job Title: Education Center Assistant
Job Category: Non-Exempt
Department/Report to: Education Center/Education Center Coordinator
Travel Required: None
Location: 1426 6th Ave Des Moines, IA 50314
Work Hours: 8:30 am – 5 pm
Level/Salary Range: $10.00-15.00
Position Type: Full-Time

ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The Education Center Assistant implementing educational curriculum. The Education Center Assistant facilitate programs for community services, HSED activities or other areas. The goal of the Education Center is to create an effective learning experience for the students and build relationships with members of the community to ensure that students have adequate learning materials, classrooms and teachers.

  • Represent St. Vincent de Paul Des Moines in public and at community meetings
  • Evaluate St. Vincent de Paul Education Center Operations to identify strengths and shortcomings
  • Ensure students’ progress in the program they choose to learn
  • Planning, organizing and implementation of the curriculum, and ensure that the program supports mental health, nutrition, parent involvement and social services expectations
  • Supervise attendance and lesson plans to meet policies and procedures
  • Discuss the student’s progress with students and provide assessments and reports
  • Acquire knowledge of city, county and state resources available
  • Effectively communicate with employees of all levels
  • Collaborate and execute program-marketing strategies including advertising and promotion of the education center
  • Ensure the successful launch of all new programs
  • Enhance the client interaction and experience with all St. Vincent de Paul Des Moines service locations, staff and entities
  • Ensure all employees and facilities are in compliance with all federal, state, and local laws
  • Other duties as assigned

QUALIFICATIONS AND EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS

  • Associate’s Degree in Education or related field or equivalent work experience
  • Must possess and consistently demonstrate the ability and willingness to utilize excellent customer service skills
  • On-time and consistent attendance and punctuality
  • Ability to read, analyze and interpret documents relating to store operations and sales
  • Ability to follow instructions, adhere to policy, and make basic decisions

PREFERRED SKILLS

  • 1 year experience in related field
  • Ability to perform basic mathematical equations is preferred
  • Customer orientation and ability to adapt/respond to different types of characters

WORK ENVIRONMENT

Work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. This job operates in a professional office environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, filing cabinets and fax machines. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally exposed to weather conditions. The noise level in the work environment is usually low to moderate.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls; reach with hands and arms; climb stairs; balance; stoop; kneel; crouch or crawl; talk or hear. The employee must frequently lift up to 50 pounds
and/or move up to 50 or more pounds. Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.


Helping juvenile offenders stay out of court system

Three Des Moines area residents explain why they applaud the expantion of a mediation program that helps first-time, juvenile offenders understand the impact of their actions directly from their victims. Kathy Bolten/The Register



St. Vincent de Paul Board Selects Andrew Gross as Tom Varilek Education Center Director

DES MOINES – Andrew Gross, a former Catholic elementary school principal who was most recently an achievement coach and recruiter with the WTA-Connect program at Des Moines Area Community College, was named director of the Tom Varilek Education Center today.

“Andrew brings a unique and extraordinary skill set to the Des Moines Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul,” said board president Jim Wachuta. “With a focus and commitment to walk with the center’s students on their journey out of poverty, we recognized that Andrew’s ability in the classroom combined with his strong administrative abilities and practical knowledge and extensive knowledge in the workforce arena made him the perfect candidate for this critical leadership position.”

The Tom Varilek Education Center provides classes in basic computers skills classes (English and Spanish), Hi-SET, financial literacy and English as a Second Language. All classes and services are free and open to the public.

Gross, who earned his bachelor’s degree in education at the University of Iowa, was an upper-elementary classroom teacher in urban and rural schools from 1975 to 1983. From 1983 to 1988, he was the director of religious education at St. Therese of the Child Jesus in Des Moines and earned his master’s degree in education from Drake University in 1985. He served as the principal of Holy Family School from 1988 to 1996, earning his specialist degree in education in 1994 at Drake University.

Gross was superintendent of the Interstate Community School District in Truro and Sentral Community School District in Fenton between 1996 and 2000. From 2000 to 2010, he was a drug prevention/school safety lead coordinator, career advisor and teacher with the Des Moines Public Schools system. He was employed by DMACC from 2010 through the present.

“DMACC was one of 10 sites across the country to be selected for a research study on the effects of wrap-around services to long-term employment and self-sufficiency,” Gross said. “The study, entitled WTA-Connect, gave me a firsthand opportunity in workforce skills assessment and development. We’re certainly not going to duplicate services or reinvent the wheel, but those are areas where the Tom Varilek Education Center can strengthen its special niche in the community to help people out of poverty and into better lives.”


Volunteers Sought for Colorado Flooding Disaster Relief Efforts

The Des Moines Council of St. Vincent de Paul Society is seeking disaster volunteers from the local conferences to work as caseworkers for disaster victims of the Colorado floods in the Boulder area. SVdP is currently on “standby” to perform this mission.

Barbara Slaven, National VP for the Midwest Region (from Omaha) received the call from Ken Merlin, National Disaster Committee Representative, Midwest Region. She said, “According to Mr. Merlin, ‘Volunteers will be trained in casework management by a SVdP team from the South Central Region (SCR) who served during Hurricane Sandy (NJ/NY), the OKC tornadoes, and a fertilizer plant explosion in Texas – prior to assigning the Omaha volunteers to a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DAC). We are responding to a special request from Catholic Charities USA to provide the casework because of the excellent work provided by the St. Vincent de Paul Society in recent disasters.’”

The DAC is a secure site located outside the disaster zone.

Volunteers are encouraged to carpool to and from the Denver area, and will be assigned to the same work site, if possible. Commercial air is authorized.

Anyone in the Des Moines area wishing to volunteer may contact Fern Klemm, Des Moines Council Social Services Director, at (515) 282-8328 or socialservices@svdpdsm.org with your name, phone, email, availability after Oct. 1 , and any experience/classes in disaster work. Minimum availability for this assignment is one week.


Friends of the Poor Walk Planning Under Way

The planning committee for this year’s Friends of the Poor Walk in Des Moines met on Saturday to begin planning for the event to be held at Pete Crivaro Park from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept 29.
Anyone interested in additional information or in serving of this year’s organizing committee may contact Jessica Daab at (515) 282-8328 or Eric Woolson at ewoolson@svdpdsm.org. Anyone who would like to sign up as a walker should check out the national society’s web page for the event and click “Walkers.”
“The Friends of the Poor Walk is a great opportunity to help those in need and, to be honest, it is a wonderful chance to get to know other people committed to the cause of the poor in our community. Any money that is raised goes directly to the Des Moines Council and our conferences to help people in need right here in the metro area,” said Maureen “Moe” Kauzlarich, this year’s event chair. “Walkers have the option of one mile or two, which makes it a wonderful event for young and old. Anyone who isn’t up for the walk but would like to show their support on the day of the event is invited to join us at the park’s shelter house for music, lunch and friendship.”