United Way Staff CommentaryBy Sam Blackwell, Program Officer, Household Stability
Sometimes, I look back and reflect on the time when I started my career at a local nonprofit in the Twin Cities as an AmeriCorps member. My title was Income Supports Navigator, which meant I helped people navigate complex systems so they could get the support they needed. This ranged from employment help to food support to toys for their kids during the holidays.
Often, I would call case managers at the county to confirm a client’s income or translate letters from landlords for Spanish-speaking clients or help my clients (many of whom were undocumented) file their taxes. I was fresh out of college, just 22 years old, from a tiny but wealthy town in Wisconsin. I had never struggled to find support the way my clients did. Meetings were often stressful for them and for me, but when we were able to move towards a goal together, it was immensely rewarding.
One day I’ll never forget is the day Marissa walked into my office. She’d been a participant in some of my financial literacy classes and liked to good-naturedly give me a hard time by making fun of my less-than-perfect Spanish. But when Marissa walked in that day, her demeanor was totally different – friendly Marissa was gone, and there was an anxious woman in her place.
Read the full post at gtcuw.org.