The 20 Coolest Girls in America

YM magazine, November 2003

Job Finder Caitlin Gorski, 17, Hopkinton, MA

Caitlin thinks it’s all very well to say that homeless people should just get off their butts and find jobs. It’s easier said than done when you don't have a fixed address, a business suit, or society’s respect.

A couple of years ago, when Caitlin was serving coffee and chatting with some homeless residents at a shelter, she was struck by how much everyone longed to join the workforce. “They really wanted to be productive,” says Caitlin, a Hopkinton High School senior. This past year she decided to organize a job fair where homeless people could meet with potential employers. At first, a lot of shelter managers and employers turned her down when she asked for help, insisting “there aren’t enough hours in the day to pull this off” and “it’s just not worth it.” But Caitlin persisted. She contacted tons of area businesses and nailed down 20 who agreed to give it a try.

Last May, representatives from companies like Marshalls and Costco came out to Boston’s City Plaza (the city donated the space) to interview 1,500 people from 10 shelters. One person was reportedly offered a job at Filene’s on the spot, and four more got positions at Costco later. The fair will definitely happen again in 2004. “A man came up to me at the end of the day and told me he’d lived in a shelter all his life,” says Caitlin. “Then he thanked me for being one of the first people to give him a chance. That made me cry and cry.” – B.K.