Thursday, June 23, 2011

Father's Day at Susan's Place

 
The Father's Day celebration at Susan's Place was a special event for the men who work at the shelter. Not only recognized by Susan's Place Director Natalie Richardson, but by their peers and by the residents as well, the men who make it possible for the women to get back on their feet were treated with a special lunch.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Susan's Place Spotlight: Robert Bennett

When you think of the Director of Operations at a shelter, you don’t typically imagine a Wall Street broker/DJ working with homeless women on a daily basis, but at Susan’s Place, that’s exactly who Robert Bennett is. Raised in New York, Bennett has the “challenging” role of making sure everything at Susan’s Place is run as it’s supposed to, but he’s not bogged down by the challenge.

“My favorite part of the day is any moment when I can make the women happy and make them smile.  They take to me,” he says. “I guess it’s the positive spirit I bring to them. I check on everything they need.”

Bennett is in charge of more than just the facility at Susan’s Place. He also hosts open-microphone nights for the residents, oversees the gym and yoga classes, encourages the women to attend sewing and cooking classes and he utilizes his bookshelf full of DVDs and old-fashioned popcorn maker in his office for movie nights.

“We wanted to change the mood by what they watch. On movie day we used to show whatever movie and now we tamed what we show. If people are violent in the movie, some of the women mimic that behavior and we don’t want that.”

Wanting the best for the clients has become part of Bennett’s hallmark at Susan’s Place and in Care For the Homeless.  

“When they first come in, they can be cursing out people – we get all walks of life. We’re concerned about them. We want more for them. There’s no place like Susan’s Place. We take pride in our clients. We have a great environment. I think SP is number one of all shelters. ”

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Health Educator Spotlight: Jessica

Raised in northern California, Jessica Faville studied International Development and Economics at UCLA but she realized early on that she was loving her international health classes.

“All my extra-curriculars were health based,” she said. “That’s where my interests were. I was involved with organizations on campus that raised money for pediatric AIDS and I interned for an organization that does summer camps for HIV positive youth. I always knew I wanted to work with HIV. It was the first real disease I saw as a kid. My uncle died of HIV so it drove me to want to do health care.”

From there, she spent time working with HIV and AIDS promotion in a village in Tanzania, working in schools with kids doing health education and was working in San Francisco at a homeless clinic and in a shelter when she heard about CFH.

Now, as a part of the health education team at CFH, Faville works with families, senior citizens and LGBT youth, trying to help homeless people understand the importance of healthcare.

“Health can get lost with everything they (homeless people) have going on,” she said. “So as a health educator, to remind them the littlest thing can make a difference in their life. CFH matters because we’re addressing a population that a lot of people shy away from. The fact that we show up every week and show them that we’re interested in their lives does a lot for their well-being overall. For someone to remind them about their health can make all the difference.”