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A Helping Hand: Coordinator

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By Danny Freedman 
Express
Monday, January 23, 2006; 5:13 PM

MICHAEL O'NEILL, 24

JOB: Speakers' bureau coordinator for the National Coalition for the Homeless in Washington

SALARY: About $820 per month

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degrees in political science and mass communication from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut

WHAT HE DOES: O'Neill recruits and schedules a group of local homeless and formerly homeless people who speak at some 200 events a year in the area and across the country. The 27 speakers he manages use their stories "to break the stereotypes that a lot of people have and to put a face on homelessness," he said. He recruits at shelters and soup kitchens and by walking around at night, striking up conversations. For events, he's in charge of all the logistics: Lining up speakers, setting up transportation and warming up the audience, which can range in size from the tens to the hundreds.

WOULD YOU WANT HIS JOB? He keeps traveling costs down by driving for several hours instead of flying or staying the night in a shelter or hostel. O'Neill's AmeriCorps salary demands he stick to a tight budget himself. He had to live on a colleague's couch after first moving to D.C.

HOW YOU CAN GET HIS JOB: For the last five years, O'Neill's position at the coalition has been filled and funded through AmeriCorps, a publicly funded service organization. Experience in community service will bolster your resume (O'Neill volunteered for numerous groups during college).

FOR MORE INFORMATION: National Coalition for the Homeless (national homeless.org), AmeriCorps (americorps.org) and idealist.org.

This article originally appeared in the Express on September 13, 2005.


© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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