Meet John Pajarillaga, he is our Community Support Specialist at Southern Christian Services. John is originally from Cleveland, Ohio. He met his wife, a Mississippi girl, when he lived in Chicago. John and his wife moved to Mississippi after their son was born to live closer to family.
Years ago, John worked in a completely different field. He was a manager for a non-profit organization. Over time, John realized he liked helping people more than managing projects and running departments. That led him to change careers. John decided to go to school for psychology with the eventual goal to become a counselor. He got a job in community mental health and social services and worked in this field for the past six years.
John works with young adults (18-24 years old) who are in danger of being homeless and are part of Southern Christian Services’ transitional housing program. As a Community Support Specialist, he’s part case manager, part emotional support, and part job/life coach. Some days it involves more logistical tasks like getting clients connected with community resources (like local food pantries and medical clinics) or helping find job leads. Other times it’s more people-oriented like teaching individuals how to manage their budget, coaching them on how to make a good impression for job interviews, or helping them work through difficulties at their job. John states, “I like helping people and plan on doing it for a long time.” SCSCY is proud to have John on our team!