From our founder
How do you create jobs when no one is hiring? After the Great Recession, youth unemployment reached 25%. Students who needed to work to pay for their college education could not find employment – just as their parents were losing their jobs and their savings.
So, how does one create work for people who have no work experience, but need the income? We all have a to-do list. Things that need to be done around the house or yard, punctual needs in a business, anything where we need an extra pair of hands, but don't know who to turn to.
If we could provide Trust + Knowledge + Access, we could connect people in their neighborhoods, so they could help each other out. We would enable people out of work to earn an income and build a professional reputation. We’d enable them to show that they are reliable & employable and increase their range of employment, one job at a time.
This is the mission and vision of HelpAroundTown: connect communities, introduce neighbors to each other, so that those who need help, find it, those who need work, get it. Those who prove that they are reliable and dependable get rewarded with more work and better opportunities, through their hard work.
The amazing, rewarding thing, thousands of jobs later, is: yes, this is working!
Reem Yared, Founder & CEO
Reem Yared had fifteen years' experience building online communities, knowledge marketplaces, recruiting tools and information services, when she founded HelpAroundTown. Consulting clients included Dow Jones, Inc., HotDispatch, H3.com, Aquent and the DOE. Reem received her BA at Harvard and her MBA at Wharton (University of Pennsylvania).
Monte Brown, CTO
Monte is a full stack developer who can handle the web interface as comfortably as deployment servers and everything in between. We are delighted to benefit from his talent, expertise, and perspective. Monte focuses on solving the problem for the customer and is tireless until he has reached that goal. Monte has a BA in Computer Science from Williams College and forged his experience in companies large and small.
Sytze van der Laan Community Manager
Sytze is HelpAroundTown's Community Manager responsible for Lexington, MA. He is also a user tester, blog developer, and guitarist.
_June Hsiao, SEO consultant
June advises HelpAroundTown on SEO strategy. June is a founding member of the startup team at The Grommet and has held multiple positions there including Director of eCommerce. June has an MS in Computer Science from Columbia and a BA from Wellesley.
Along the way, we have been fortunate to benefit from the contributions of many. We’re particularly grateful to:
Louise Zornoza: high school outreach; Joseph Flesh and Declan Frye: initial platform build; Ted Zhu: tech contributor; Dan Deming-Henes: logo design
We are grateful for the guidance and insights so many have shared along the way, in particular:
Business Advisors - Bill McKenney and Frank Schroth for their business insights; - Harry Forsdick, master community builder and tech tinkerer.
Senior Services Advisors
Melissa Interess, Lexington MA Director of Human Services
Marian Knapp, PhD, Author, Advisor and previous Chair to the Newton COA
Donna Popkin, retired, previously Director of Member Services at the MA COA
Everywhere, there are people who need small things done. Bursts of work that must be done in person, on an irregular basis, and that don’t require professionals. Nearby, there are people who are interested in and available for that type of work, but who just don’t know of their neighbors’ needs. HelpAroundTown connects neighbors, so they can find help when they need it and work when they want it.
Our founding mission was to create entry-level jobs for youth, so they could pursue their education and launch their careers. Today, with unemployment at record lows, our mission is to:
• Help Seniors Age in Place, by connecting them with reliable, affordable resources near them, when they don’t need a professional or an agency
• Enable anyone with occasional availability to work only when they have time on their hands. Enable people to stay engaged, supplement their income, feel valuable and make a difference through short bursts of work.
• Strengthen community ties by introducing neighbors to each other, in an organic, natural way, where everyone benefits
• Enable non-profits to promote their events and fundraisers, locally and flexibly; and to recruit volunteers and offer community service hours
• Provide small businesses and home-based businesses an affordable, flexible, local platform to get the word out about their business and a local recruiting tool
• Provide inter-generational connections, by connecting Seniors Aging in place with younger neighbors
• We believe in promoting availability while protecting privacy. HelpAroundTown is designed to walk this fine balance in the way it handles job postings and Helper listings. The Bulletin Board is a public space, like any real world bulletin board, with contact info posted.
• We believe parents are the best positioned to advise their teens on which jobs to take. We encourage parents to meet the job poster and evaluate the appropriateness of the job for their child.
• We believe there is a valuable pressure to being in the same neighborhood or group, knowing that you will see each other again, and that you will have to look the other person in the eye again.
• We believe in transparency and in people making their own decisions of what’s best for them. That’s why jobs posted can be seen by everyone and anyone can apply. Ads are shown everywhere. People decide whom they want to hire and which jobs they want to apply to. We facilitate connections; people own their own decisions.
• We believe strengthening community ties happens organically, in the normal course of things, when people meet to solve a problem, in a community marketplace.
• We believe humans seek community. We might need the internet as the intermediary now, but we still want to work with people in our neighborhood.
We are completely focused on building a service that would connect neighbors, generate work, promote micro businesses and help people enter or re-enter the job market.
Please, let us know how we are doing and how you would like to see us evolve. Founder[at]HelpAroundTown.com
MEMBER, MA Caregiver Coalition https://macaregivercoalition.org whose mission is "To work with employers to increase awareness of - and support for - the more than one million unpaid family caregivers in the Commonwealth and ensure that all employers have the tools necessary to recognize, honor and support family caregivers."
We have had the wonderful surprise of being offered contributions by grateful users.
We appreciate the endorsement this represents as well as the donation itself. Thank you for supporting our social enterprise mission!
TO SEND A CONTRIBUTION TO SUPPORT HELP AROUND TOWN, please send a check addressed to:
Help Around Town, Inc. P. O. Box 546 Lexington, MA 02420
Other users express their support by sharing HelpAroundTown with friends, neighbors, co-workers and family. Please share with everyone who might benefit! If you would like a template email to share, please reach out. Thank you for reading till here and for accompanying us along the way.
Reem & Monte