I began working at the House of Grace five years ago. The purpose of my initial project was to improve circumstances for families. I helped over 400 families by fundraising, providing medicine, children’s needs, and creating and distributing food packages. I write reports for each family for the social department and the national insurance. I host a lot of women’s workshops as well. It is hard to convince them to come since the daily need for food and money is paramount. They are in a hard situation, but we know it’s important so we encourage attendance. I work a lot with single mothers, victims of domestic abuse, and individuals facing economic issues.
When I tell people where I work they want to know if I feel safe, they also ask how I could work for an organization that helps prisoners. Before I started working here I shared the same common misconceptions and I did not really know what to expect. On one of my first days on the job, I was invited to eat lunch with everyone at the house, including the prisoners. Up to this point, I had only been working with families in need and had not yet met any of the prisoners we worked with. I suddenly became fearful, letting other people’s concerns about my job sway my ideas about the individuals we work with. I decided to get over my fears and attend the lunch. As I sat down in the kitchen I looked around and saw nothing other than welcoming and kind faces. My worries disappeared through the shared meals, laughter, and friendships forged among supposed criminals. I saw them for who they really are; people. At that moment I become a part of the House of Grace family. People still ask me today why I work with prisoners because all they can see are criminals, but all I see are people who are trying to lead productive lives and provide for their families. Many friends continue to ask me why we help Jews and Muslims, but to me, we are all God’s children. No matter what religion gender or circumstance the House of Grace is always there. This another reason why I fell in love with this organization. My job can be hard at times and I am not able to help everyone as much as I want, but I can see the impact we make every day in someone’s life. Now when people ask me why I work here with prisoners, I tell them all about my experiences, and the impact they’ve had on me. I tell them about the amazing people I’ve worked with and how not only have we helped them or changed them but how they’ve helped me become a better person.