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Christian conglomerate strives to employ a struggling community

West Coast Expo: Business, Technology, Green & Health will be held at Los Angeles Convention Center, September 27 & 28, 2013.
West Coast Expo: Business, Technology, Green & Health will be held at Los Angeles Convention Center, September 27 & 28, 2013.

After graduating with from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in public administration and a minor in Africana studies, Janel Buycks faced an issue that is becoming more and more common, she couldn’t find a job. Buycks spent five years working jobs on and off, and interviewing with staffing agencies with no real success.

“I knew that I was qualified to fill these positions, and sometimes even overqualified. I was becoming a statistic, and after five years it started to become very disheartening,” she said. But, throughout her struggle, her faith in God’s plan never waned.

“Because God is love, I believe that by loving people, their hearts will be touched and they will recognize that God is real,” she said.

As a result of Buycks’ passion for helping others, she founded Recycling Kingdom Dollars, LLC, a Christian conglomerate that was set to “bring forth the Kingdom of God by way of establishing multiple businesses that will service and provide job opportunities for His people.”

Under the organization, Buycks launches a new business each year in order to do her part in creating jobs in the African American community.

Above & Beyond Staffing Agency, a subsidiary of Recycling Kingdom Dollars (RKD), is an intense training program that strives to empower individuals to become effective in the workplace and to be successful in the world.

The free program invites individuals to participate in courses and workshops that cover specific skill-set training, customer-service etiquette, and overall career readiness.

Above and Beyond stands apart from other staffing agencies in that participants undergo background checks, have access to youth services, and the organization specifically works to prepare and place individuals recently released from prison, in the work force.

Despite Buycks’ good intentions, she admits that getting people to participate in the program has been her biggest struggle.

“It’s a free program. It’s a 60-hour course, but we put a lot of stress on customer-service etiquette. Bad customer service is a pet peeve of mine,” she continued. “But, when you think that some of these people have been unemployed for a month, or a year, or more, 60 hours doesn’t seem like very much. It’s really a shock to me,” said Buycks.

The program hasn’t been able to hold a course since February as a result of falling far below the minimum turnout of 25 people, but Buycks has faith that the upcoming application day on Aug. 7, at Los Angeles Southwest College will yield good numbers. There will be two sessions, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., and 1-3 p.m. Those interested are encouraged to come dressed in professional/business casual attire with California ID or drivers license, Social Security card, and resume. Contact Candi Lawrence at (323) 283-4127 for more information. The next course is slated to begin in September.

“The community is struggling and I have to do my part to help,” said Buycks. “Of course, I would have preferred a 9-to-5 job, but that is not what God intended. From getting out there in 2009 and starting from nothing, to still be going today, even with the struggles, is our biggest accomplishment.”

Buycks also has intentions of running a nonpartisan campaign for governor of California in the 2015 election, hoping to implement change on the state level.

In the near future, Imitators of God Foundation—Buycks’ first nonprofit venture on a mission to empower people to become self-sufficient through the application of biblical principle—has partnered with the WNBA’s L.A. Sparks to host a game and Gospel night Sunday, Aug. 25 at the Staples Center, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The post-game concert features Erica Campbell of Grammy-winning Gospel duo Mary Mary, and Gospel artist and producer J. Moss.

Tickets for the event begin at $10 and can be purchased through Aminah Mills (213) 929.1304. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the nonprofit.