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Hear the Story of Peoples’ Lives

Give me some free time and I will pick up a book. My favorites are biographies and historical fiction. When I hear the story of another person’s life and their experiences, I am better able to look at the world from a different perspective. 

A recent find for me is Book of Ages: The Life and Options of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore. The contrast between Jane and her famous brother, Benjamin Franklin, is due to the opportunities for varied life experiences and education available to a sister versus a brother in that time. This book really made me think about privilege, opportunity and the many gifts of each person.

Another amazing read is City of Thorns by Ben Rawlence which chronicles the lives of nine people living in Dadaab refugee camp. I found this book after meeting a Daily Work job seeker Daily Work who lived many years in Dadaab. It was a place I had heard about on the news, but now, with a connection to a person in Minnesota who is trying to find full time employment, I wanted to know more about this place. It was eye opening and I encourage everyone to read this book.

Each of us has a story to tell that is uniquely our own. Volunteering at Daily Work has enriched my life through the stories that job seekers share. I have met the most interesting, tenacious individuals. Mentoring job seekers has me constantly noodling on the many gifts each person brings, their stories, the opportunities available and those denied. 

Daily Work is a place to be heard and make connections. What connections can be made through Daily Work to find sustainable employment? What opportunities are here in St. Paul that will support the needs of people like our job seekers so they are better prepared to meet the demands of the jobs they seek? The answers lie in hearing the stories of the job seekers’ lives. 

Are you interested in books that expand your perspective? Do you have favorites that Daily Work fans should know about? Share your ideas for a Daily Work Book Club and how we can hear each other’s stories and enrich our connections to and understanding of the people and world around us.

By Gretchen Guenter, Case Management Volunteer



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