Katrina Ramsey is the Volunteer and Outreach Manager for Friedens and our partner organization, StreetLife Communities. She’s worked with our organization for two years, and volunteered for far longer.
Recently I heard an amazing speaker during one of my Community Health Worker (CHW) courses. He said the work we do is “heart work” and not everyone can do it. During the last two years I’ve worked at Friedens I have come to realize that I used to be the kind of person who wanted to “fix” a person or problem… Recently, I’m learning the importance of healing rather than fixing.
At Friedens, we are daily doing heart work. We are building bridges to discuss the deeper problems. We are creating an atmosphere where community members can feel and know they are safe. Our site manager at Despensa de la Paz said once, “you can’t solve the problems of the world if people are coming to their tables hungry.” The ultimate goal of our food pantries is to no longer need to serve food to communities experiencing poverty. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case today nor tomorrow… But we forge on and continue to build the bridges to support our communities that are in need.
I was reminded of the heart work that I do on a daily basis last weekend. Recently, our organization was fortunate enough to receive cell phones with six months of services provided to give out to community members. As I was walking to give a phone to one of my team leads, there was a lady from the community who noticed. She asked if I had any left, and, luckily, I did. As I was installing the phone for her, she started to weep. She was thanking God for the blessing this phone was to her. What you don’t know is that she appeared to have been recently abused. Her face was bruised and she had a black eye. Yet all of those things didn’t stop her from rejoicing over this win. As I worked with her, I had to hold in the tears that were starting to fill my eyes. I knew this lady, and it broke my heart to see her face so distorted.
During my time at Friedens I have learned not all things are going to be sunshine and rainbows. But in order to see rainbows, you have to go through a few storms. I have seen many rainbows as I have served, and I am hopeful that one day I will be able to see a rainbow for this beautiful woman I was able to provide a simple phone to.
Volunteer and Outreach Manager