Spouse Employment Series: Volunteering expands opportunities

Rosario Seelen works as a volunteer at the American Red Cross Stuttgart Station on Panzer Kaserne, Sept. 9, 2016.

By Holly DeCarlo-White
USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs Office

Editor’s Note: The Spouse Employment Series focuses on ideas, shared experiences, inspiration and tips for military spouses seeking employment. Read the past article featuring Stuttgart writers, here.

According to numerous financial and business publications and personal accounts, volunteering, or interning, is described as an important avenue to gain or improve skills and work experiences. Volunteering has proven to also open new doors for employment opportunities.

Rosario Seelen, American Red Cross Dental Clinic program lead, is a dedicated military spouse and volunteer at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart. Photo by Holly DeCarlo-White

Rosario Seelen, American Red Cross Dental Clinic program lead, aims to encourage fellow military spouses and dependents struggling to find a job in their profession or degree field, to volunteer.

“Sometimes it’s not all about the additional income. There’s a sense of reward that when we do for others with nothing more than a giving spirit, it is more valuable and rewarding than a pay check.”

Volunteering through the American Red Cross in Stuttgart, Seelen is currently building her professional resume in the dental field.

“Now that I have the dental assistant experience, and vast opportunities through the American Red Cross, I’m gaining more marketable skills, networking, knowledge and experience.”

Although this is not always what she envisioned herself doing for a career, Seelen expresses great gratitude for the opportunities given within the military community.

“The challenge of no or little choices/opportunities to compete for a job has forced me to think ‘outside the box’ and step out in uncharted territory. It’s scary, yet exciting at the same time and it’s neat to see how those opportunities weave themselves together,” said Seelen.

Her advice to other military spouses is to strive to always “think outside the box,” looking beyond and being smart about the options available.

“Each day is a new day to begin again… be positive and keep on keeping on,” said Seelen.

Though the hiring process can be tough overseas, USAJOBS is the central site for government positions where spouses and dependents can watch for openings. Seelen recommends using the free resources available through Army Community Service that help with the USAJOBS application process.

“Remember that we sometimes enter ‘a season in time,’ so while you aren’t with the responsibility of a job, you can not only volunteer, but use this time for quality family building, community togetherness and helping lay the foundation to establish greater good for others,” said Seelen.

To volunteer for the American Red Cross in Stuttgart, contact DSN: 431-2812/civ. 07031 152812.

For information and resources provided by Army Community Service, DSN: 431-3362/civ. 07031-15-3362.

To share your story, contact the USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs Office here.