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Give & Take: The HOPE Interview Project: Where Hope and Work Converge

Marie Matta  Follow

The past two years have been nothing short of “unprecedented.” Many of us left our in-person office jobs for nearly two years to work from home. Schools were remote, many concerts, weddings and special events were canceled. In the midst of all these transitions, hope was hard to come by.

As we make our way back to a semblance of normalcy at work here at Prosek, there are many individuals who continue to seek meaningful work opportunities for a myriad of reasons. The pandemic – in combination with all of the challenges brought on by its occurrence – has left many New Yorkers without jobs. Despite these difficulties, we have seen inspirational organizations work to make a difference and bring hope back for these individuals.

We at Prosek have the distinct privilege to partner with The HOPE Program, a workforce development nonprofit that helps at-risk New Yorkers transcend poverty and prepare them to find and retain employment.

Recently, colleagues across our offices participated in the annual HOPE Interview Project, conducting mock interviews with the program’s cohort of job seekers to prepare them for upcoming job interviews. This has historically been one of our favorite days at Prosek, and one that was especially meaningful this year. We constantly find ourselves inspired by this organization and the dedicated students we have the opportunity to get to know during these interviews.

As we reflect on this year’s event, we asked some of our colleagues to share more on what this meant to them personally. Here’s what they shared:

Regardless of your background, the job interview process can be intimidating and stressful. As a fairly recent graduate, it can feel like we don’t have much insight to offer when it comes to career readiness, but this opportunity was a reminder that we can all learn from each other no matter how much experience we have because it is all valuable and you never know how it might help someone else. -Shadae Leslie

It meant a chance to personally make a difference. Often, we’re donating to causes hoping our contributions will generate a positive outcome, but with HOPE, there’s a human element and we get to work directly with people to try to improve their lives. – Ben Shapiro

I have been so fortunate throughout my education and career to have had fantastic mentors to guide me. I am so thankful for the opportunity to pay it forward through the HOPE Interview program. Hearing that we had helped our interviewee feel more confident and comfortable was the best moment of my day, by far! – Emma McMillen

Volunteering with the Hope Program was a wonderful experience. Being able to connect with someone else whose career was impacted by the pandemic was so rewarding and I'm so glad I was able to pay it forward. – Alex Schaffer

I am fortunate to have had many mentors over my career who have shared their time and advice generously with me. In paying a little of that forward, I learned that encouragement can mean the world to someone who’s going through a period of transition. – Lindsay Fitzpatrick

It meant being helpful in a different but tangible way. I never thought that my past interview experience could be useful to someone I had never met before, but I am grateful I was able to contribute and hopefully make a difference. Through my education, I learned about career readiness and in a way, took it for granted. Through the HOPE program, I now see it’s a privilege that I should share with others whenever I can. – Irina Navarro

It was an honor to be a small part of helping the members of the HOPE program achieve something so big for both their professional and personal lives. – Mia Rossi

I loved seeing the personal growth of each interviewee. I hope I was able to help uplift their strong suits to highlight in future interviews. – Chloe Chieng

To learn more about ways to get involved with HOPE, check out the website here.

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