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LJ church steps into job counseling arena

One came looking for a new career. Another sought a job helping others find jobs. Someone else who is self-employed was there networking.

All three shared something: They were all at the Sept. 23 “Career Change” job search workshop at La Jolla Presbyterian Church at 7715 Draper Ave., Life Center, Room 3.

The workshop is part of an ongoing job search support group called The Boardroom that is offered free to the general public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at the church.

On this particular day, a group of about 40 job seekers listened when motivational speaker Cynthia Ryk told them: “When you’re inspired … you’ll feel it. You’ve got to tame your fears. Change happens. Transition is your choice. You don’t know where your journey’s going to take you - but you’ve got to take the step.”

Following Ryk’s presentation, 60ish retiree Robert Rusk of University City said he had a good idea where he wants to go.

“I’m looking to use my background to help other people in running their businesses,” he said.

Rusk is hoping the church’s job search program can help him get from here to there. “I’m looking for something to match me up here. You don’t know, coming into it, what you’re going to come up with.”

A native of the Philippines, Angie H. Schulz of Sorrento Valley is undergoing a similar career transformation and is reaching out to The Boardroom for guidance and support.

“My first love is people, and that’s why I’m a human resources professional,” she said. “This church cares for people enough to create the opportunity for them to come together. Helping is all about giving people an opportunity.”

Self-employed Lauren Castle of La Jolla was at The Boardroom to “reach out to more people” in the down economy.

“I can help them with their image, help them to get to the next level,” she said, adding that sometimes people need a makeover. “You haven’t changed your hair or glasses or interviewed in 20 years. A lot of it is just stepping up the image to go along with your skills. If I can get them to look better, they’re going to feel better. And if they feel better, they’re going to interview better.”

Grace Decker started The Boardroom to aid job seekers in a supportive environment.

“A job search is very frustrating, very stressful, you feel very isolated,” she said. “You need to get out and be with other people who are going through the same thing to get the support emotionally, mentally and in the soul. Otherwise, you’re just sitting at home with your computer and just banging your head against the wall.”

Decker noted that La Jolla Presbyterian, through The Boardroom, has the computers, the speakers, the facilities and the training programs to help job seekers use every tool available to locate their next job.

“Maybe you’ll learn a new direction or get an insight that leads you down a path you’ve never been before,” she said. “I just felt called to do this, and the church supported it.”

To R.S.V.P. or for more information about The Boardroom, call Decker at

(858) 638-9103 or e-mail TheBoardroom@pacbell.net.