Staff Reflections: Sandra (SOS Social Navigator)

I have many stories from my almost 7 years associated with the United Way. 

My current role as the Social Navigator for the SOS Team allows me to make a positive impact on people’s lives every day in some capacity. 

The reason I can make a positive impact on people’s lives every day is because of our supporters.

Some days that looks like having a conversation that allows someone to feel seen and heard, as so many experiencing homelessness or addiction often feel invisible and irredeemable. Some days that look like a clean pair of socks or a jacket and the acknowledgment that they know I have their back. Other days that look like getting connected to the right service to solve a problem they didn’t know how to solve. The man who was undergoing cancer treatment needed properly fitting winter boots and by giving them to him, that changed the course of his treatment. The chronically homeless woman who felt safe enough to come to talk to me about becoming housed and getting connected to counselling. The single Dad with 5 kids, 3 were finally able to come visit after getting to 8 months of sobriety through the assistance of the SOS Market and Mobile team.  I was able to get him housewares, cots, and comfortable linens so his kids would feel comfortable and want to visit more. He is now 11 months sober from opioids and all other substances, has been working full time since month 3, sees his kids every other weekend like clockwork, and has a new pup to boot.

In my previous position with Getting Ahead and even now facilitating that learning with agencies, I have gotten to see people’s “Aha” moments when they realize they have what it takes to thrive not just survive, when they get to define success on their terms and when they finally see their value.

I am blessed by the gratitude I see on their faces and the changes I see in them as they move through the community paying forward the hope and faith, I held for them.