Volunteer of the Month Alameda County - Laurel

Laurel Pendleton

Management Analyst, Social Service Agency

Several years ago Laurel Pendleton joined a group of friends who volunteered to teach English to refugees from around the world who were resettling in the Bay Area.

Then the group found another way to help, working in alliance with the Chipotle restaurant chain to develop a food-service training program that has become a direct pipeline to employment opportunities. Lately, Laurel has focused her volunteer efforts on being a mentor to local refugee families – helping them steer through American culture and to attend to basic needs such as setting up telephones, medical insurance and bank accounts. She also helps at a Berkeley café launched by some friends that trains refugees for jobs in the food service industry.

“I’ve made a lot of friends and helped people to become really valuable members of our community,” she said. “The refugees I have met just want what everybody else wants – a safe place to raise their families and an opportunity to contribute.”