Chula Vista, California - She’s actively looking for a job. But Josefina Gonzalez is not sitting around waiting for another opportunity to come her way.

Instead, she is spending her free time volunteering at the County Health and Human Services Agency’s South Region Public Health Center, where she is gaining new skills she hopes will make her more marketable and help her find another job.

Gonzalez’s commitment to helping clients over the past seven months earned her the Volunteer-of-the-Month Award for June from the County Board of Supervisors.

“I am impressed, excited and honored,” said Gonzalez, 45, before receiving her award Tuesday. “I am currently unemployed, but instead of just staying home doing nothing, I decided to volunteer.”

Gonzalez, a Chula Vista resident, has been unemployed for more than a year after her job as a secretary at a local jewelry store disappeared.

While she looks for another job, Gonzalez said she decided to volunteer to give back to her community while also gaining more skills and experience, just as thousands of San Diego County residents do every year.

Last fiscal year, nearly 30,000 people participated in the County’s Volunteer Service Program, providing a value of more than $40 million.

At the Public Health Center on Oxford Street in Chula Vista, the mother of two spends over 15 hours each week assisting clients with information about immunizations, health insurance, tuberculosis and other infectious disease prevention. Her duties include customer service, data entry, filing and helping with various projects.

“She is a very responsible and hard-working volunteer. She is always willing to learn and help with assignments,” said Blanca Valdivia, senior office assistant for the South County Public Health Center who trained and nominated Gonzalez for the honor. “Josefina is very courteous when assisting clients on the phone or in person. We really appreciate her support.”

For her part, Gonzalez said she hopes her volunteer work will help her land a job at a community clinic or a doctor’s office. Helping customers prevent illness and Gaining experience to become employed are both aligned with Live Well San Diego, the County’s initiative to improve the health and well-being of local residents.

“I am very happy with the experience. It’s helping me to learn new skills and meet new people,” Gonzalez said. “I am really happy with the experience. I hope it will help me get a job.”

To learn more about volunteer opportunities, visit the Clerk of the Board's website or call Volunteer San Diego at 1-800-VOLUNTEER.