An Armstrong woman is using her expertise and experience to help others apply for services such as Employment Insurance amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)

An Armstrong woman is using her expertise and experience to help others apply for services such as Employment Insurance amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)

North Okanagan woman helps others apply for EI amid COVID-19

Pandemic has locals retooling skillsets to help others

An Armstrong woman is hoping to lend a hand where she can amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and for her, that means helping individuals access key support services such as Employment Insurance.

Tasha Berkholtz holds a bachelors degree in social work fromt he University of Victoria, but she is currently unemployed, among several thousand other Canadians.

“I figured I could use my skills and abilities to at least direct those who’ve lost their jobs in the right direction and offer support during what can be an overwhelming process during this uncertain time,” she said.

Berkholtz said she understands just how overwhelming these bureaucratic processes can be for those just laid off — especially for those who have never had to apply for services before.

“This can be scary as people also worry about their health and the health of their loved ones and friends,” she said. “I understand government systems and can try to explain them to others.”

The only perk for Berkholtz, she said, is knowing she is helping alleviate the worry and uncertainty people may have.

“I don’t mind assisting people with completing this first step during immense financial uncertainty,” Berkholtz said. “As masses of people in our province and nation are suddenly thrust into a very concerning economic unknown, those with the education and skills to help must step up and help those in our community.

“We are all in this together,” she said.

Service Canada shut all its in-person centres amid the pandemic March 26 and now aid from individuals such as Berkholtz is even more helpful.

Berkholtz said she’s around via email to lend a hand with applying for EI and other services, or even just to lend an ear to those whoa re struggling mentally from the strain felt by the effects of the novel coronavirus.

“This is a time to come together,” she said. “People don’t have to feel helpless. A lot of people can feel useful, even if it inspires others to even help people with groceries, it’s a good thing.”

Berkholtz said if anyone else has a similar skill set, she’s interested in having them on board so she can extend her reach even further to be sure everyone who needs it has access to help.

Emails can be sent to Tasha Berkholtz at tberkholtz@live.com.

READ MORE: WATCH: Coldstream neighbours make noise in support amid COVID-19

READ MORE: Vernon woman baking for those in need amid COVID-19


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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