I was born and raised on the Island and have a deep love for its natural beauty and unique old-time local New England fishing and farming culture, of which my family was a part for hundreds of years. I am excited to be a part of the Vision Fellowship and to work with an amazing group of people towards a more sustainable way of life, a goal which is especially important now as the unique culture of the Island is being threatened by resort-like cultural development and gentrification.
I have a BS in Psychology and Women’s Studies (2002) from the University of Massachusetts. I became a Fellow in 2007 and completed my first fellowship internship working as an assistant to the Property Manager at Island Elderly Housing, Inc.., screeening applicants, creating and maintaining an electronic waiting list and recertifying residents for continued housing for their federally subsidized affordable housing program. I also conducted a survey to assess the residents’ satisfaction and future needs for the Supportive Service Program. Through my work at IEH both before becoming a Fellow and after, I became aware of the gaps in service delivery for federally subsidized housing programs, the great need for affordable housing on the Island and the lack of a network of resources and information for seniors in the community.
With the Vision Fellowship I completed a masters in social work specializing in community planning, organizing and development at the University of Chicago, School of Social Administration (June 2009). While completing my masters I interned at Villa Guadalupe Senior Services, Inc., where I provided case management services for a diverse group of low-income seniors; NeighborSpace, a nonprofit organization that works with communities in Chicago to preserve and protect their urban gardens and open space from development; and Logan Square Neighborhood Association, where I worked with the Director of Housing and Land Use researching housing policy, doing neighborhood outreach and developing strategies for organizing campaigns for more and better affordable housing and commercial spaces.
After graduating in June 2009 I used opportunity grants to travel to Mexico and Guatemala to study Spanish and the socio-political climate of both areas in past and current global development. I studied for one month at La Casa en el Arbol in San Cristobal de las Casas, in Chiapas, Mexico, and for two weeks at La Hermandad Educativa: Proyecto Linguistico Quetzalteco in Quetzaltengo (Xela), Guatemala.
Currently I am living in New York City and working in a housing first model outreach program for the chronically homeless population at Goddard Riverside Community Center. I hope that by working in an urban environment I will be able to enhance my skills in direct service to better understand the challenges in providing social services so that I may work holistically to change the design of social policies that are so difficult to implement on the ground at the community level.