From our founder
How do you create work in a recession? This is the question that kept running through my mind in May 2010, when I started hearing from friends that their kids could not find work. Whether students in college or in high school, still studying or recent graduates, even those who had had a job at a local store during the school year could not get hired for the summer. All the typical jobs youths relied on seemed to evaporate.
Articles and stats told the same story: teens and young adults were facing the worst job market since 1942. Their age segment had the highest rate of unemployment since the Great Depression (27% then, 25% in 2012). This can have grave consequences, as summer jobs are the source of savings for the college year. Not being able to work in the summer could make the difference between being able to attend college or not.
Kids unable to work might be unable to pursue their education. This would leave them without experience and without education - a dismal outlook for future job prospects.
So, how does one create work for people who have no work experience, but need to start working? As I thought about where one could generate opportunities, I realized we all have a to-do list. Things we should do around the house or yard, punctual needs in a business, anything we need a little help with, but don't know who to turn to. Projects that don't require a professional or a full-time person, where help is needed. What if we could match the need with the service provider? What are the barriers? Trust - Knowledge - Access. If we could surmount these, then we could facilitate cash-generating opportunities in communities across the US - and beyond. Connect people in their neighborhoods, so they could help each other out. Don't just create work: help people gain an income and build a professional reputation. Let them 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. And 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 is: this is working!
Reem Yared, Founder & CEO
Reem Yared, HelpAroundTown's founder & CEO, has fifteen years' experience building online communities, knowledge marketplaces, recruiting tools and information services.
Harvard BA, Wharton MBA, consultant at Arthur D. Little, then independently for Dow Jones, Aquent, HotDispatch, H3.com and 7 DOE funded start-ups, developing their commercialization strategy.
Louise Zornoza, Director of HS Outreach
Louise joined the team in 2015 to get the HelpAroundTown message out to local high schools. Louise is also the perfect email marketer and communicator.
Louise has her own legal information startup. JD George Washington University, BA Brown.
June Hsiao, SEO
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 Product and Director of eCommerce. June has an MS in Computer Science from Columbia and a BA from Wellesley.
Terri DiSalvatore, Social media intern_
Terri helps us generate smart relevant content on social media.
The two developers who built the site are Joseph Flesh and Declan Frye and we'll always be grateful to them. They built the site on Reem's specs, long distance, through many, many Skype sessions, so they get all the credit and Reem gets all the suggestions for changes: Founder[at]HelpAroundTown.com
Ted Zhu has been providing valuable technical advice since high school. First, as a user tester, then managing site and data updates while a CS student at Ohio State, and now as an advisor, while a PhD student at Duke.
We're always looking for good Ruby on Rails and UI/UX talent, so please drop us a line if you're interested.
Our logo and icons were designed by Dan Deming-Henes. Dan has a fresh, colorful, clean style that we hope you will love as much as we do.
We have been fortunate to receive guidance and insights from so many people along the way.
Bill McKenney has provided invaluable help refining our business model and financial projections. He's a great sounding board to any start-up.
Frank Schroth has been incredibly generous with his time. He's a true coach: knowing what you need and challenging you to go do it.
The EforAll accelerator enabled us to benefit from the excellent advice of David Parker, John Hogan and Joyce Dostale, for which we are so grateful.
Harry Forsdick was there for our very first conversations.
We are completely focused on building a service that would connect neighbors, generate work, 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
We have had the wonderful surprise of being offered donations by members of the communities where we operate. 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