Tell me a little about yourself and where you grew up.
I am an Air Force Brat. I grew up in many communities throughout the U.S. including Albuquerque, NM, Tacoma Washington, Andrews Air Force Base, MD, D.C. and Virginia.
How did you come to serve the young single mothers of Step By Step?
I had done a lot of work in the community through volunteer efforts and working within the nonprofit sector. In 2013, when the role of Program Director was advertised, a woman I met while volunteering sent me the posting and asked me to apply. I had never heard of Step By Step, but I was intrigued by the focus on Christ and the aspects of direct service I was missing.
How would you describe the mission you’re called to?
I am called to empower and disciple. I have a particular heart for the empowerment of women and children.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Coming from a background of poverty, my biggest struggles have been working through my own shame to understand that there are systemic issues that have nothing to do with the abilities or hardworking attitude of an individual searching to succeed. Once I discovered that “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” is the wrong mentality when we fail to see that the individual doesn’t even have boots to begin with, I had a great deal of freedom. This knowledge set me on a path to seek justice for others experiencing the same setbacks who are dedicated to their own success but have not been given the opportunity to shine.
Have there been temptations to turn back?
I experienced compassion fatigue three years into my tenure. Most social workers burn out within 2-3 years of working in high pressure environments. And, I realized my lack of self-care and single-minded focus on improving the program was literally killing me, I had to make some drastic changes. I am not always good at self-care but I work hard to avoid toxicity. Those times of exhaustion lead to a sense of overwhelming and helplessness that have nothing to do with the power of Christ and who I am in Him. In order to be at my best as an advocate and leader, it is imperative that I take care of myself to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
What keeps you going?
I recognize God’s provision at every turn. From an incredible staff that really is of one accord, to dedicated Board members and volunteers, and seeing lives changed through His power. There is nothing like seeing a young single mother achieve her goals overcoming every single obstacle and finally believing in herself.
How can others support the work of Step By Step?
Share the resources that God gave you with us: time, talents, finances, and heart.
What do you hold back from sharing that is about to burst inside you?
Nothing. I hold nothing back. Sometimes, to my detriment. But, what is always bursting inside of me is the connection with Christ and the visions He shows me for what can be. I already see 10 years down the road for Step By Step and it is a strong and tangible vision. That truth certainly has me bursting.
Who else’s story must be told?
I would love to see a well-rounded website with lots of diversity.
There is some AMAZING work coming out of CCDA (Christian Community Development Association). Dr Perkins and other leaders of color have inspired my work and the way I live in community.
Photography by Ryan Morris