I grew up in a very unstable, unsafe environment that no child should have to live through. It was not easy, but between having multiple support services offered to me and perseverance, I was able to overcome those barriers life threw at me.
As an adult, I wanted to give back to those who helped me achieve dreams by returning the same service to others needing support, which prompted me to choose a career in social work. I obtained my degree from Millersville University and shortly after, started my first job working in child welfare, offering reunification and family preservation services in Lehigh and Northampton Counties in PA.
After relocating back to Lancaster, I began a job working with adults who have intellectual disabilities as a Volunteer Coordinator taking the individuals to volunteer places to establish work and social skills in the community all throughout the County. As great as the job was, I felt like I was lacking the fulfillment I was seeking as a social worker and began looking for other jobs.
A friend of mine told me about the SSVF Case Manager job opening and thought I should apply for it. After reading the job description, I decided to send in my resume because it sounded exactly like the type of social work job I envisioned. I loved the idea of advocating for Lancaster County veterans because they did so much for our country and deserve housing just like everyone else. One of my favorite quotes is by Dr. Seuss: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.” That quote was my lifeline growing up, and I was so excited when offered the job that I could finally advocate for someone other than myself as a way to give back to those in need in honor of all the case workers I had growing up.
Since starting at TLC in September, I have helped to find housing for nine veterans and helped one veteran remain in his current housing. Not all of the stories have had happy endings, but there are two that stand out in my mind. They both had numerous barriers against them that would hinder them finding permanent housing, but their positivity and willingness to meet with me made it possible to do just that. The one veteran has successfully completed the SSVF program, and the other veteran has just moved into his own apartment and is heading in all the right directions to keep moving forward in his life.
I feel very humbled to be working with Lancaster County veterans, and I am so thankful that having the supports in my childhood has led me to this point in my career of giving back to those in need.