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Santa Monica Job Center Staff Loves the Work


Added together, the ages of the four volunteers who run the job placement center at Family Service of Santa Monica total 315.

"I really get a bang out of this," said Dorothy Waltrip, who manages the desk. "There's something new every day." Waltrip, who in an earlier career worked with the mentally retarded, interviews job applicants and tries to match them with employers.

Ora Sweet, who gave up teaching in 1919 because she made more money as a waitress, said she thinks there should be more consideration for ability than attention to age. "We have a box filled with applications of people who want to work," she said.

"And," Leona Paule added, "some of them are professionals from foreign countries who will take anything." Paule quickly thumbed through her files and pulled out an application from someone who taught school in Vietnam and is desperate for any work.

"What about the pharmacist from Poland?" asked Anita Waytz, a former anesthesiologist.

Most of the job offers, though, are in the service areas. And every so often they have problems. "Remember that time we were run down by that employer who requested a companion?" Waltrip asked. "She said, 'Don't send me any more people dressed like street people.' "

They all laughed, but Sweet added that since the incident, they advise their applicants about the importance of appearance and proper dress.

As much as they enjoy the work, the women say that they are sometimes frustrated when they cannot help someone in need. "One of the heartbreaking things is when a person comes in who really wants to work and has no command over the language," Waltrip said. "We try to steer them in the right direction but we are only geared to get people working."

The placement office is one of a variety of programs offered by Family Service, which opened in 1925 and will soon move to new quarters. The job referral service was originally geared for senior citizens but has since expanded to all ages.

Paule, Waytz, Waltrip and Sweet are eager for more work. "We need more employers and more applicants to keep us busy," Waytz said. After 315 years, they say, retirement is out of the question.

Family Service of Santa Monica is at 1539 Euclid Ave. The job placement desk is open weekdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and can be reached at 451-9740.

Bulletin Board

Health Care--Senior Health and Peer Counseling will offer counseling on health insurance issues by appointment only; Thursdays; for appointment, location and information: (213) 829-4715 (free).

Broadway Music--Senior Citizen Section, Los Angeles City Recreation and Parks Department will feature Broadway music and song in honor of Older Americans month; Felicia Mahood Multipurpose Center, 11338 Santa Monica Blvd., West Los Angeles; 1 p.m. Thursday; information: (213) 479-4119 (free).

Consumer Awareness--Felicia Mahood Multipurpose Center will sponsor consumer awareness fair to inform older adults of their rights and responsibilities as purchasers; 11338 Santa Monica Blvd., West Los Angeles; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday; information: (213) 479-4119 (free).

Songs--West Wilshire Senior Citizens Club will feature Vivien Mason singing English, Yiddish, Spanish and Hebrew songs; 141 S. Gardner St., Los Angeles; 1 p.m. Thursday; information: (213) 939-0275 ($3).

Cultural Information--Assistance League of Hollywood Senior Multipurpose Center will sponsor an open house focusing on multicultural services available for seniors; 6501 Fountain Ave., Hollywood; 1:30 p.m. Friday; information: (213) 465-2158 (free).

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