Meet Rhianna Combs – CEO Pueblo
(Interview by CEO Pueblo Instructor Angie Pulsifier)
Angie: Tell us a little about yourself. What prompted you to volunteer at CEO?
Rhianna: I have a passion for working with disadvantaged members of the community, specifically individuals who are incarcerated, or are in legally challenging situations. I have been accepted to CU Boulder Law, and plan to specialize in criminal defense law. I found CEO and was very enthusiastic at the opportunity to get involved with this demographic now, rather than waiting until I finish law school. I love that CEO has the hours and flexibility that allows me to work full time, and still have hours left at the end of the day that I can focus towards giving back and directing my energies towards bettering the community I live in.
Angie: Do you have any special skills or interests that you would like to incorporate into your volunteer work?
Rhianna: I am lucky enough to work with for an organization that has allowed me to develop a multitude of skills in a lot of different areas. Currently, I work as a contract/tech writer, and supervise one department. I believe language arts/writing and computer skills are two areas that I have enough expertise with to share, but am happy to help in whatever capacity is most useful to the clients and CEO.
Angie: Have you found a way to incorporate your special skills or interests into your volunteer work?
Rhianna: I am grateful for the time I have spent with CEO thus far and look forward to a long-lasting relationship with this program and the people I have met here. Thus far I have had the opportunity to tutor language arts, assist clients on the computers with job applications, and conduct mock interviews. Each of these has been equally rewarding for me. I am happy to continue with these tasks and welcome anything else that I may be able to help with.
Angie: What do you hope to gain by working at CEO?
Rhianna: For several years I have felt the urge to give back to the community I live in here in Pueblo, CO but had not found an organization that aligned with my values and interests or in several cases my schedule. I have already learned so much from the clients and personnel at this facility and am grateful for the experience. There must really be no such thing as a true altruistic act because I feel such great satisfaction when I am able to help people here with even simple tasks or guidance that I know is a small step towards their positive future. It really is the best feeling there is.
Angie: What do you hope to contribute (to the clients or program) by working with CEO?
Rhianna: I hope to help the clients of CEO gain the tools and education necessary to better their situation. I love this program because it is not a charity, there are not any handouts but is rather focused on empowering people to change their world. By offering people education and training they are able to take that with them into the future as a viable tool that allows them to become self-sufficient, positive, functional members of society.
Angie: What advice would you like to give to the clients or other volunteers?
Rhianna: (To the clients): Regardless of what the world may think, or what issues you may have in your past, you are a valuable member of this community and with the right tools and hard work, you can be virtually anything you want to be. You can do anything you want to do. Set goals for yourself and work hard to achieve them.
(To the Volunteers): If you are looking to volunteer your time in a meaningful way with a group of people that genuinely need your help, this is definitely the place to be. The instructors are amazing to work with and the clients are typically very grateful for the information and guidance you share. Anyone who has an interest in education, specifically education of a disadvantaged group, I believe would be really happy dedicating their time to CEO. The work this program does is extremely important and offers tangible training and education that will contribute towards a positive future for the clients and community they live in.