Being Involved with the Community
As a Community Coordinator, one of my responsibilities is to represent the Damiano Center at local community events and committees. It has been so interesting to learn about how these committees function and all they accomplish around Duluth. The first committee I joined is called Soles to the Polls. The main goal of this group was to register and educate as many voters as they could
before the election on November 6, 2018. To do this, we organized a big event at the Denfeld high school on October 13. The event was planned for over four months with weekly meetings and many hours coordinating with other organizations for funding and donations. It was absolutely amazing to see people who were so passionate about the right to vote and trying to show others how important it is. Once I saw how dedicated they were to this cause, it motivated me to become more involved with the planning process. I donated more of my time and energy and when the event day came, it made it that much more rewarding to see tons of people from our community show up and have a great time.
Recently, I’ve been representing the Damiano Center at the Affordable Housing Coalition. The group is made up of public defenders, St. Louis County employees, Housing Redevelopment Authority and other organizations that are involved with the housing population. We meet once every month to discuss issues about the barriers between housing conditions, landlords and the tenants that have low-incomes. I didn’t know I had a strong interest in this issue until I joined the coalition’s meetings. Hearing about the root of the housing problem is fascinating!
The last group I’m involved with is Local Solutions to End Poverty. We get together weekly and talk about ways we can either help those living in poverty directly or educate the public on the realities of living in poverty. Before the election, we visited local service centers and events to educate as many people as we could about the voting process. Our desired goal was to give those that have limited access to candidate information an opportunity to inform themselves. More recently, members of the group have been sitting down with people and gathering stories of their journey in poverty. It’s hard to fully understand what poverty is unless you’ve experienced it yourself. Though moving, quite a few stories we’ve heard so far are filled with pain and overcoming extremely difficult times. By gathering stories and sharing them with the public, it can give people an insight into what it’s like to live in poverty beyond the economic hardship.
Being involved with these groups has expanded my horizon. It feels awesome to represent the Damiano and to show others that our care goes beyond the direct services that we provide at the Damiano Center. I’m really looking forward to continuing the work with the committees I’m in right now and joining new ones in the future.