Scottsdale salutes: career center volunteer Hollie Nelson

Hollie Nelson (submitted photo)

Hollie Nelson (submitted photo)

Helping others when they’re feeling down is a passion and a skill Scottsdale resident Hollie Nelson has developed throughout her life.

A retired Air Force member and teacher, Ms. Nelson now volunteers in the career center at the Vista del Camino Community Center, 7700 E. Roosevelt St. in Scottsdale.

In 2009 Ms. Nelson decided to retire as a special education teacher in the Scottsdale Unified School District to pursue becoming a more active volunteer.

She saw an ad posted by the city that the career center was in search of volunteers.

“My passion would be helping people so that they can really help themselves,” said Ms. Nelson. “I thought this would be so great.”

Years later and Ms. Nelson still feels the same joy about volunteering as she first did.

“A big chunk of what I do is teach or facilitate workshops,” said Ms. Nelson in a Nov. 12 phone interview.

The workshops are available for all skill levels and vary in topic. There are classes on using a computer, creating a resume, making a first-impression, using LinkedIn and more.

“Everyone is on their path or journey and it’s not easy,” said Ms. Nelson. “Sometimes it’s really sad because some of the people who are there – something’s not quite right with them.

“You can’t put your finger on it but you can see that they will have difficulty getting a job.”

Helping people overcome this challenge reassures Ms. Nelson she is doing the right thing.

“It’s a very fulfilling and nourishing position,” said Ms. Nelson. “They are in a tight spot and your heart just goes out to them.”

“Knowing that you can be assistive so they can go in the direction they need to – it’s a nice circle to be a part of.”

Ms. Nelson said she deals with a wide-range of people from being highly qualified to being homeless and needing money. She said a skillset that helps is compassion.

“Just last week I had someone who was let go and it had only been a couple of days since this happened,” said Ms. Nelson. “He was very angry and very bitter but he needed to jump right back into the job search.”

“Some of those things like anger and bitterness can get in the way of being successful; it sometimes can translate into the resume or cover letter.”

Classes and services offered at the career center can be found at, along with other programs and services at the center.

The Vista Del Camino Center provides a variety of services to Scottsdale residents to prevent homelessness, meet basic needs of individuals and families in crisis, relieve economic and emotional stress and assist individuals maintain self-sufficiency, according to its website.

The career center is in need of more volunteers.

“I would recommend to anyone who has that desire to serve others and it can be in such a host of ways,” said Ms. Nelson. “All of our volunteers have strengths so they’re not all offering the same thing.”

Ms. Nelson said residents who would like to volunteer do not necessarily have to have technical or computer skills.

“They can be more of the emotional support for someone who is in the searching phase,” said Ms. Nelson. “Be a bright spot in a difficult time for people.”

To find out more about volunteering with the community center visit

To nominate a Scottsdale volunteer for Scottsdale Salutes e-mail

Northeast Valley News Editor Melissa Rosequist can be e-mailed at or can be followed on Twitter at

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