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May life be good, Judi Jaworski

Judi Jaworski, retiring from SBEC

Judi Jaworski has retired from Saint Benedict Education Center after twenty-nine years of service. 
Judi’s name is recognized throughout the area and in Harrisburg.  She is respected by her colleagues at SBEC and valued by participants. 

Sister Miriam Mashank, O.S.B., who previously served as Executive Director, hired Judi as a Job Developer in 1991.  She didn’t know Judi but quickly discovered she had made a wise hiring choice.  “Creative” and “loyal” are the two words immediately offered by Sister Miriam, herself now retired. She recalls that Judi was a “dynamic leader”.  “She saw things that needed to be done and did them.”  Sister Miriam recounts how others, locally and in Harrisburg, frequently called Judi for advice and assistance.   

Judi was hired in the early years of Saint Benedict Education Center to foster the job development dimension of the program both within Erie and to the five other counties in which the program expanded.  

Judi speaks with gratitude of those early years with Sister Miriam as her mentor and recalls her initial experiences.  “I knew absolutely nothing about the welfare system when I began ….This was like learning a new language.  The state had acronyms for everything and I was like a deer in the headlights at my first direct team meeting because they were all talking in their foreign language.  I decided right then and there that I was getting a listing and going to memorize it because I was feeling overwhelmed already.”

Judi did memorize that list and learned well that foreign language.  

Staff have shared a variety of experiences with Judi gathered through these many years.  “…Judi has always been friendly, energetic and responsive. She is….quick to help come up with a solution.”  Another shares, “…she is truly a great example of hard work and dedication.  She loves helping people and goes above and beyond to do so....”

From the counties:  “…Judi has made a difference with her constant optimism, enthusiasm and willingness to answer questions.  I remember when she was training me to recruit employers for paid work and community service.  I watched her work her magic with the most hesitant employers and establish tremendous relationships.  Her guidance and encouragement have helped me and so many other coworkers thrive.”

Staff comment on how Judi’s devotion to helping people “extends far beyond landing jobs”, of her “wealth of knowledge”, and of her remembering participants’ interests and staying in touch with them to eventually find their “dream job” – or close to it.  

“There have been many times that companies have called the department and needed employees.  Judi would gather her team and we would connect participants, set up the interviews, hold job fairs at SBEC and follow up with companies.  The solid working partnerships and community relationships built over the years will be remembered….”

“’I’m on it’ was her never give up motto!”, one staff member recounts.  “One thing I learned from Judi is to never give up and keep asking.”

It seems this motto didn’t only apply to humans.  What to do when you find yourself with an unwanted stray cat?  A coworker shared her dilemma with Judi.  “Well, we all know how Judi works—immediately she picked up the phone and called a couple of employers that she worked with closely over the years and explained the situation and asked if they knew of anyone looking for a cat.  Believe it or not, there was a gentleman who was at one of the employment agencies doing some work at their building…..”  You can guess how the story ends.  The cat had a new home.  “So, the point of the story is—Judi doesn’t wait, she immediately goes into action and gets results.  Besides placing people into jobs…Judi also places animals into new homes!!!”

From Judi:  “I have had the privilege of working with so many outstanding employers, social service centers, and other staff and administrators that have left a lasting impression on my life.  I AM GRATEFUL!!!”

We are grateful to you, Judi, for helping to create and develop a strong job development component to the program at Saint Benedict Education Center.  And for the ways you touched and enriched so many lives in our SBEC family.  

May life be good.