PJC Profile: Nancy Kochuk
Wage liens and yoga
May 30, 2013: “I’m approaching one of those milestone birthdays (60!!) next month, and I am celebrating by teaching a yoga class at The Still Point to benefit one of the best nonprofits you’ve probably never heard of, the Public Justice Center.” So began Nancy Kochuk’s email to friends, inviting them to support the place where she’d volunteered for the past six months.
Recently retired from the National Education Association, Nancy had been looking for a way to volunteer in addition to teaching yoga. She met PJC Executive Director John Nethercut through a friend and ended up helping out the PJC’s Workplace Justice Project during the Maryland legislative session. Drawing on her expertise in communications, she developed messaging around a bill that established a lien for unpaid wages, a way for workers to collect their wages when their employer fails to pay. She also contributed to materials promoting a bill to expand paid sick days to all Maryland workers. The latter particularly hit home because she knew her own son, who earned no sick leave, couldn't afford to pay his rent if he missed even a single day of work. Plus contributing her time felt good: “I had meaningful tasks to do and enjoyed working as part of a team of people committed to the mission.”
In the process, Nancy became “a huge fan.” “The PJC is well-run,” she said. “I was also impressed that the PJC earned the Standards for Excellence from Maryland Nonprofits. It’s an incredibly positive statement about the organization.”
Having seen the good work and people of the PJC, Nancy decided to host the yoga class as a fundraiser. She shared how the PJC addresses poverty not just by helping individuals, but creates a bigger impact by helping groups of people with similar issues through legislation, litigation and administrative advocacy. The twelve people who attended the class, and a few more who couldn’t come, joined Nancy in collectively contributing over $800.
“All of us have an obligation to give back,” Nancy says, “and it felt good to be able to combine my passion for yoga with supporting the mission of PJC.”
Thank you, Nancy!