How long have you been with St. Francis House? What is your role?
I started at St. Francis House in 2016 as the Clothing Program Supervisor. In August 2018, I left to pursue my Masters in Social Work and returned in June 2020 as a Clinical Supervisor after finishing the program. This September I started a new role as an Access Clinician. It is a newly created position at St. Francis House. In this role, I try to meet guests where they are at and help folks who are looking for services but do not quite match with traditional case management. This includes guests who might not be able to manage the expectations of traditional case management – they can’t make meetings, they are actively using, they have significant mental health issues, or other things going on that make it very difficult for them to be active on a traditional caseload. My role is to try to connect them to services in a very low barrier way.
What part of your job do you enjoy most?
I enjoy working directly with the guests the most. It is what drew me to St. Francis House, what keeps bringing me back, and what has kept me here. I love working with our guests, and I think St. Francis House approaches things differently than many other organizations – we treat guests with unconditional love and support and that is something you sometimes don’t find at other places. It resonates deeply with me. Every guest is greeted and cared for even if they are having a bad day. We welcome them as who they are that day. We don’t make guests jump through hoops to come in, we don’t require a lot of paperwork. We’re low barrier for a reason. We want to be a sanctuary for our guests.
Is there anything you wish people knew about your role or your department?
I wish people knew about how collaborative our work is here, and how we work interdepartmentally. I view all of St. Francis House as my team, and I try to collaborate as much as I can across departments. I don’t think anything I accomplish is a result of what I am doing specifically; it’s all because I have the support of my team, my coworkers, and everyone around me who is also doing the work. I think having the help and support of your coworkers is key, and it allows us to best support the guests.
Is there anything about your job that you find challenging and how do you work through it?
Every day is challenging doing this work – that is just how it is. It is always going to be challenging. Some days are more challenging than others, but I think what makes it worthwhile and worth the challenge is seeing the small accomplishments guests attain for themselves. The support we give the guests every day, just being there for them and offering that unconditional support and love for them is what makes the challenge worthwhile.