“I like helping people — mentally, emotionally, physically, socially. I think I’m approachable. Even when I’m not out trying to help people, people come up to me and ask me for help. I work at a homeless shelter. I’ve worked there for 20 years. My role there is to speak out for our guests by going to visit people and encourage them to volunteer or donate. I help put a face to and share the stories of people who are going through a difficult time in their life. All my life I’ve been finding a well of causes and then talking about them.
When I was young, I worked with a lot of special needs kids, so I’ve always been involved with that community. I wasn’t from a religious family, but I ended up getting involved with a church and serving there. So it’s really just been a part of who I am and what I do. I think I’m fairly empathic.
You do have to step back from it at times, though. You need that break, because some of these people… well, for instance, we’ve seen a big problem lately with heroin. You’ve got these young lives that you help and they seem to be doing better, and then, tragically, they relapse. It’s heartbreaking. And certainly the deaths are as well. We had a staff meeting last month, and someone had OD’ed that morning. We just threw out the whole agenda, and asked everyone to talk about how they got into this work and why they do it. It was good to be reminded that there’s a reason why we do this, even on the difficult days.”