In the years since he started volunteering at The Midnight Mission in 2002, Hal Bookbinder has expanded his Jobs Interviewing Skills Workshop from a three to five session course to a twelve session course. He has also taken his course to our HomeLight Family Living facility. At HomeLight, he teaches a nine-session course to the adults in our program. Hal said, “Fellow volunteers help me teach the classes, conduct mock interviews and assist participants with their resumes.” Hal enjoys what he does, “I believe we are helping the participants in their professional progress and continued sobriety. This is highly rewarding to me.”
Hal’s course at The Midnight Mission targets participants who have demonstrated progress in their 12-step recovery. They gain valuable knowledge to get them ready for work from identifying their target job, interview preparation, social media and networking to success on the job itself. Hal emphasizes, “Addiction is not the defining characteristic of the participants. It is one factor, but they have so many strengths and potential on which they can build.” Hal proudly points to the fact that 80% of his course graduates leave The Midnight employed. “I feel enriched by seeing others recognize their value and succeed.”
When he is not helping those in recovery put down new roots, Hal enjoys genealogy, where he studies his family roots. “I speak at conferences and genealogical meetings and have led various genealogical organizations.” Reflecting on his childhood, Hal notes, “My grandparents and parents owned various small hospitality businesses, including bars. The debilitating impacts of addiction on customers, friends and family members made a lasting impression on me.”
With that firsthand understanding of addiction, Hal points to one of his proudest moments at The Midnight Mission. “In 2009, the Ventura County Star ran an article on the program in which a participant stated that before taking the course, he didn’t think he was good enough to get a job. He said, “I learned how to pass an interview, build confidence in myself and stay positive on job search going through Hal’s class. Hal made me see that I am somebody regardless of my addiction or previous life experiences. I would be dead or in jail if it weren’t for The Midnight Mission and Hal.” “The Midnight Mission’s structured program helped him get his life back,” Hal says.
For more information on our programs, visit www.midnightmission.org.